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Realtor group warns of rental scam

Some of the fake listings were posted on Craigslist.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 5:28PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.


Scammers have learned that using the name of a legitimate business or organization often helps deceive victims. The National Association of Realtors is warning that its name is being used as part of a property-rental scam.


Victims targeted by scammers are led to believe that NAR is functioning as an intermediary to receive rental deposits from prospective tenants. NAR says nothing could be further from the truth.


"NAR is not involved in this business and has contacted law enforcement officials to request that the matter be investigated. We encourage any consumers who may be affected to file a complaint," said NAR president Charles McMillan.

The scammers claim that on receipt of a deposit, NAR will deliver the keys to the property to the tenant. Prospective tenants are instructed to send money via Western Union to NAR's purported agent in the United Kingdom.


Some of the listings have been posted on Craigslist, which reportedly has had difficulty in tracing the original listings. NAR does not have an escrow service, or function as an intermediary to receive rental deposits.


Some of the scam listings also refer to a "Residential Lease Package" that includes a form lease identified as a document prepared by or otherwise associated with NAR. NAR was not involved in creating or producing the package or lease form, and does not recommend, support or encourage use of those documents.


Consumers who have encountered this scam may file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, sponsored by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.


"Our mission is not only to protect consumers in the real estate transaction, but also guard them against fraud," McMillan said.

Published March 30, 2009
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