2 Charged in Rental Scam

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Two suspects are in custody in connection with a scam where they pretended to own a house they rented to other people, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. Lisa Saucedo of Tallahassee and Michael Jacobs, listed as a transient, are in custody in Hernando County on fraud charges. The sheriff’s office said they broke the realtor’s lock box to get into the house. Saucedo and Jacobs also advertised the house for rent, collected money from a prospective renter, and went as far as allowing the renter access to the home and then stole money from the renter – a single mother of four children.

What consumers need to know about identity theft

The threat from ransomware is so frightening and immediate, given the extensive coverage of last week’s attack, that it is easy to forget about another technological threat — identity theft. Identity theft occurs when a criminal hacks into your computer to steal personal data, or simply finds something useful in your mailbox, and uses it to create credit accounts in your name. While ransomware may put your photographs, correspondence, and everything on your computer hard drive at risk, identity theft can bury you with debts that aren’t yours, ruining your credit and taking years to straighten out. A new survey by Experian, one of the three credit bureaus, has found wide gaps in consumers’ awareness of the identity theft threat, and perhaps because of that, it finds gaps in consumers’ protective measures. Too complicated? Most consumers in the survey — 84% — admitted they are concerned about the security of their Read More

The 5 Most Common Rental Scams (And How To Avoid Them)

Here’s what to do when finding an apartment goes from annoying to criminal. The stress of finding an apartment is almost inevitable – the search, the competition, the upfront money … most renters avoid frequently moving for these reasons. But sometimes the rental process goes from merely aggravating to actually illegal. While a majority of rental listings are legitimate, rental scams are out there, and not always easy to spot Here are five of the most common rental scams out there, along with suggestions for how to avoid them. Fake real estate agent services Services offering to generate a list of pre-foreclosure or rent-to-own rental properties for clients are another type of rental scam. Although appealing because of lower price points, these services request either a sign-up fee or a monthly fee of up to $200. The list is usually full of sham real estate listings, either fake or expired, Read More

Beware of Scams and Other Internet Fraud

Scams are a reality of shopping online and offline. Zillow strives to provide a safe online community, but you should always be wary of giving personal information, financial information, or payments of any kind to people you don’t know personally. Important: If you find a fraudulent listing on Zillow, please report it by clicking “Report Listing” and selecting “Listing seems to be fraudulent or illegal.” on the listing page in question. Red Flags for Scams Requests to wire funds via MoneyGram or Western Union  Most scams involve a request to wire funds. Do not wire funds to anyone you haven’t met personally. Scammers create convincing reasons why they need to deal remotely. Likewise, do not accept wire funds that you did not initiate. Long-distance landlords Most scams come from users in foreign countries who claim to be interested in purchasing or renting out a home. Be wary of claims from people who Read More

With Fair Housing, Better Bring the Umbrella

Apartment communities seeking to protect themselves from the storm that can come from fair housing violations in Madison, Wis., better take along an umbrella. Madison is considered to be the country’s leader when it comes to protected classes, touting at least 24, according to Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel with For Rent Media. In fact, that strategy is best used by any apartment owner or manager who operates in multiple markets. While each community in a portfolio can have very specific and different policies based on the fair housing protections in that location, managing that can be difficult, not to mention potentially risky, she adds. “For years I have been advocating to my classes and readers to use the umbrella approach,” Green says, meaning to cover themselves completely as to all potential protected class violations. “Originally, that was because of the risk in having corporate policies that differ from community to Read More