By Susan A. Neufeld
Mountain Communities -Scam artists are listing homes for rent that do not belong to them. When you inquire about the listing, the scam artist explains a credit report must be run for you to be considered. Not only do these scam artists obtain you personal identification information, such as Social Security Number (SSN), driver’s license number and address, they may even ask for bank account information! The site address they give you to obtain your credit report is not real. Although they have not “charged” you for the credit report — that you will never receive — in the fine print, the site enrolls you in a credit monitoring service that charges approximately $30.00 per month, which is billed to the card number(s) you provided. Although it states you may cancel in seven (7) days, the scam artists are typically not reachable and there never was a rental available.
Th Federal Trad Commission (FTC) offers these suggestions to avoid this type of scam:
Do not share you information on line: Never give your personal identification information online, unless it is a company you know and have been doing business with.
Do not wire money: Never wire money or send a ash card for security deposits, application fees or first month’s rent. Wiring money is like sending cash and you cannot get it back!
Never pay before you sign a lease: Sign a lease before you pay anything, visit the property or have someone you trust visit it first. If this is impossible, research the address on line and make certain the person you are working with is the true owner or agent. If you are a senior, and unable to use a computer, have someone do this for you.
Take a friend: When possible, take a friend or family member with you to meet with the owner of agent and/or view the property
If you think you may been a victim of a scam, contact your local Sheriff Department.
If you are a senior contact San Bernardino County Adult Protective Services (APS) at 877-565-2020