Grand Island Authorities Warn of Rental Property Scam

Realtors say Craigslist listings with these phrases are linked to rental scams.
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Authorities are warning people in central Nebraska to be on the lookout for a rental scam that has already affected several people in Grand Island.

Local realtors say it's not the first time they've seen a scam like this.

Broker Manager for Real Estate Group of Grand Island Cheryl Nietfeldt says the same type of scam happened in Grand Island about two years ago.

Officer Butch Hurst says just this week, the Grand Island Police Department has already gotten a number of complaints.

He says the scammers find a house for sale, then post it on Craigslist as a rental property, asking potential renters to provide the first and last months' rental payments.

Nietfeldt says one of her clients found out her home was listed on the site.

"One of my sellers called me yesterday and she was distraught because a man went up to the door and wanted to see her house," Nietfeldt says. "He had heard it was for rent and she said it is for sale, it's not for rent."

He'd seen photos of her house on Craigslist. Nietfeldt says the scammers had stolen photos of the house from websites, like Realtor.com.

Along with the photos were a few phrases Nietfeldt says to watch out for.

"The catch phrases are 'cats are ok, purr' and 'dogs are ok, woof.' If that has that on there, it's probably a scam," Nietfeldt says.

Realtors say they think Grand Island is a hot spot for this type of scam because rental properties are in such high demand, which means people who see the listings on Craigslist may jump at a rental opportunity before getting all the facts.

"When you're desperate, you'll probably do anything to find a place for your family," Nietfeldt says.

Which she says in this case, means money you'll never see again.

Authorities say they don't have any possible leads on who could be behind the scam.



 
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