Below is an agent’s account of a new scam wreaking havoc on Illinois agents and sellers.
I have had several listings on the MLS where these guys over in Nigeria steal the listing, act as if they are the seller, and list the homes “for rent” on a lot of sites such as Trulia, Zillow, Rent Jungle, etc. They put their email and contact number in the actual MLS listing which now is showing a great house for a cheap rent. When the potential renters call or email the scam artist, he starts telling them how he had a bad experience with the real estate agent, so DO NOT CALL THE AGENT on the sign out in front of the house, but deal directly with him. He then tells them they can drive past the home, look inside the windows, and then send him a deposit of $1500 and he will mail them keys and paperwork. It’s such a problem.
I had it happen just recently on one of my houses in Tinley Park. Luckily a few girls got suspicious and DID call me from my sign, and then worked with me by sending me all the correspondence these scam artists were sending them. I called the TP Police who got involved since this guy was actually stealing my seller’s identity by signing his name (my seller) on all the correspondence. We actually had an FBI agent that was specifically working on these accounts trying to get these guys, but they just can’t. I had about 3 calls from girls who talked to me BEFORE sending money, but one father called me up screaming because his daughter sent $1500 for the deposit and never received keys or paperwork. I really wanted to ask how his daughter could send money without ever seeing the place, but they take a GREAT house and list it for $800/month and all utilities paid, so it seems “too good to be true” so they fall for it.
Anyway, just thought I’d send my story as well in case you weren’t aware of these scams. It was such a pain, I spent hours calling all these sites and explaining the situation in order to get the rental off their sites only to see they were put back up a few days later!!! UGH. My poor sellers had people driving around their house and looking in their windows and they still lived there!! It was a mess. They always say they were transferred out of the country on work and are looking for “god loving” person to rent and take care of their home while they are out of the country and always sign with ” god bless you”. Such a scam.