OPSO Warns of Rental Property Scam

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is warning potential property renters of a scam that has recently surfaced in our area.

Scam artists will access a legitimate real estate company’s social media page and copy photos of rental property or property in general. Then, the scammers will hack into a legitimate real estate company’s social media account, post the stolen information on that page so that it appears to be a legitimate listing by that particular company.

Should you contact the person directly that is shown for the particular listing, usually you will be given a story that the owner can’t be contacted, that the transaction must go through the fake agent you are contacting or something similar. The person you are talking to will not meet you to show you the property. You will be instructed to arrange payment by purchasing a Green Dot type cash card to pay for the deposit, first month’s rent, etc.  Usually you will be told the keys will be left at the residence for you to pick up once the transaction is complete.

THIS IS A SCAM.  Once you give them the information on the Green Dot card so that they receive cash, you will never hear from them again as it is not a legitimate transaction. This type scam is popular on Facebook, Craigslist and other social media sites.

If you are looking for rental property, it is important that you do your due diligence to verify the authenticity of the rental agent and agency. Always contact the property management company in person, verifying all information available.  You should also contact the Better Business Bureau to verify the company if you are not personally familiar with them.  Never agree to any transaction, whether it is rental property or any financial arrangement that involves you purchasing a cash card and giving that information to someone via telephone or email.  All transactions, whether rental or purchase, should be done in person, using written contracts, after verification the company is legitimate.