Live 5 Investigates: Scammers mimic legit listings to trick would-be renters

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 7:33 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 8:08 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Randy Fleming said he should have noticed the scam when the price of a home he was interested in renting seemed particularly cheap.

“I saw the inside of the place and realized ‘this is too good to be true,’ Fleming said of the Goose Creek home he first saw advertised online. “$950 for this place is too good to be true.”

Fleming did not pay the scammer, who wanted $100 sent through the payment app Zelle.

According to Berkeley County records, this property is owned by American Homes 4 Rent. The company uses lockboxes to allow for self-guided tours for prospective renters.

Scammers can use the technology to their advantage by posting fake ads, learning the lockbox code, and pretending to be the homeowner.

Live 5 News found this particular home in three listings online with different contact information and price points.

Live 5 News reached out to American Homes 4 Rent but did not receive a return call. Shortly thereafter, a sticker warning about potential fraud was placed on the front door of the home that almost tricked Fleming.

“I don’t understand why people go through so much work to rip somebody off,” he said. “Why don’t they just get a job?”

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