Theft by Deception

89

MBG-2021-02-0051

On February 3rd, 2021, at approximately 2:55 pm, the police department was contacted by a victim advising they had been in contact with an individual about renting a house. The victim advised they found an advertisement on apartments.com for a rental property. The victim contacted an individual through email. After speaking through, email, text and on the phone, the individual asked the victim to send $1300 through Venmo. Once the victim sent the money the individual advised they would send the keys for the property through FedEx. The victim advised they wished to look at the property first, and agreed to send only $500. After sending the money the individual is no longer in contact with the victim.

The victim was informed they unfortunately were victim to a common scam with rental properties. Various websites are used to post rental properties which an individual will claim they are either the owner of, or a landlord for, the property. They will ask the victim for money prior to ever seeing the property and will not agree to meet with the victim at all. Most of the contact occurs through either email or text messaging. It is encouraged to make sure you look at a property prior to sending any money. Especially do not send money electronically through services like Venmo prior to signing contracts or ensuring the legitimacy of the property being for rent.