Beware: Rental Scam - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Beware: Rental Scam

Linda Hosmer
Channel 2 News

A four bedroom custom home, with a spacious living room, fire place and walk-in bar, located in the upscale community of Arrowcreek.  It's all yours to rent for just $1,300 a month.

It sounds good, if your shopping for a deal, but not when you're the owner trying to sell it, not rent it. "It's creepy... especially when you see your property with pictures right and it has nothing to do with what you're offering," said Heather Neal, whose home was involved in an online rental scam.

Instead, Neal's been trying to sell her $1.3 million home on a realty Web site, not

So you can imagine how shocked she was when she found out her home was up for rent on the popular site. "I found out about it because I was barraged with phone calls of people asking if they can come see my house that was for rent," Neal said.

The posting describes her home perfectly.  It lists her exact address, along with some pictures that look nothing like the inside of her home.

It then asks those who respond to the posting to mail in $700 in exchange for the keys to the house.

Neal's fighting this scam all the way.  So far she's flagged the false posting on Craigslist and filed a claim with the Federal Trade Commission.

And Neal's got some words to the wise: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Here are some helpful tips to not fall victim to online housing scams:

  • Craigslist doesn't handle payments or offer buyer protection
  • Never send money through a wire service to someone you don't know
  • Deal with buyers/sellers/renters face to face if possible
  • Never disclose your financial or personal information to people you don't know
  • Avoid deals with escrow or shipping services
  • Postings with poor English grammar or spelling are more likely to be false and a scam
  • If you suspect fraud, call the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP
  • If you suspect fraud, call the Reno Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit: 334-2107
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