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Fraudulent rental scams Omaha woman out of down payment

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Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 7:10 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - We’ve all heard the warning about an offer that sounds too good to be true. But in a tough economy, desperate people let their guard down and lose money.

Though paying a deposit and one month’s rent, Jill can only walk smokey by the house where she thought they would live only to learn it’s not theirs to move in. 

“I think I got scammed out of over $1,000,” said Jill.

The landlord she found on social media doesn’t own the house but assumed his name. 

“I haven’t had no keys; he’d email me with nothing but excuses,” said Jill.

The real house owner said, “I’m not renting it to nobody I’m selling it. So, it’s a scam that somebody is pulling.”

An elaborate scheme using a phony lease signed by the victim who unknowingly sent money to a scammer with a Utah phone number. 

“He told me he was special education teacher for deaf kids, and he himself is deaf and that’s why we were emailing instead of talking on the phone,” said Jill.

The house pictured for sale in multiple listings and scammers hijacked the information to pull a rental scam. 

Adding to Jill’s heartache she got a look around in the house and was impressed. A maintenance man working here let her in. She found out later that was probably just a coincidence of timing. He was working for the real owner and knew nothing about the scam.

The house owner says the rental scam has an obvious red flag. 

“Nobody includes all the utilities,” said the house owner.

Jill sees that now. 

“If it’s cheap and all utilities paid it’s too good to be true,” said Jill.

The house owner says he had another victim show up who paid $1,100 to out of state scammers. That’s a tipoff if nobody is in town to provide the keys but they’ll send them after you pay a deposit. Also, the crooks avoid talking on the phone likely to conceal foreign accents. 

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