The Rochester Police Department sent a press release today warning residents about a rise in real estate scams. Casey Moilanen, Captain of the Department’s Investigations Team said, “We have noticed an increase in the number of people reporting that they have been victims of Craigslist rental scams. The suspects use COVID-19 as an excuse to forego showing a potential renter the property in question and then ask them to wire the first month’s rent and security deposit.” Moilanen said victims then learn that the scammer doesn't even own the property being shown.

The RPD shared these red-flags to watch for:

 

  • The property owner or landlord will not meet you in person.
  • They want you to move in right away.
  • They want you to wire or mail money to them.
  • The price appears to be too good to be true.
  • The listing has typos, poor grammar, or excessive punctuation.
  • There is no application and/or screening process.

Moilanen says, “Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, that’s probably a good sign that the person you’re dealing with is up to no good.”