Police warn of recent rental scams in Moncks Corner
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - The Moncks Corner Police Department is warning residents about recent scams involving rental properties and how to avoid becoming a victim yourself.
Officials with the Moncks Corner Police Department are warning residents to do their due diligence before sending any money to a rental property.
“We know from reports in the past that people wind up losing thousands of their own dollars to security deposits and a first month’s rent,” Communications Director for the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs Bailey Parker said.
She said rental property scams normally take two different forms: hijacked ads or phantom rentals.
Phantom rentals are when scammers make up rental properties that don’t exist and create their own fake listing. Hijacked ads are when a scammer takes a real rental listing, copies it, and places the exact same listing with only the contact information changed-which is what’s happening in Moncks Corner.
“Maybe just the contact is changed, or some of the information is changed, but it’s the same pictures,” Lt. Travis Dodd with the Moncks Corner Police Department said.
He said scammers often ask for money before the renter even sees the house, but they typically ask for a specific type of payment.
“They’re looking for money to be either transferred by gift cards, or by wire transfer, or straight electronic transfer through bank accounts,” Dodd said.
He said this type of payment is nearly impossible to track, and even harder to get back once it’s gone.
Director of Leasing and Management for Pure Property Management Shannon Daugherty said she sees fake identification on property applications on a weekly basis.
She said she suspects people do this to get into a property, to then turn around and rent it out themselves to scam people. And she said the problem is getting worse.
“I’ve been working in property management for 17 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Daugherty said.
Parker offered advice for people on the market for a rental.
“Just know, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You never want to pay money upfront without signing that contract. There better be a contract, and you better be able to tour that place, and if they aren’t anywhere near you, and they’re not willing to meet you, it’s a scammer,” Parker said.
The Moncks Corner Police Department said the investigation into these recent renal scams is ongoing.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the department at 843-719- 7930 or Lt. Travis Dodd at 843-719 7989.
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