Avoid property rental scams that can cost thousands

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DENVER -- Rental scams are on the rise in the Denver metro area and crooks are getting more creative when it comes to new ways to get money.

Sean Donovan said he couldn't believe his luck when he found a $460,000 house on Craigslist just 15 minutes from downtown.

The rent was only $850 a month. Similar homes can go for $3,000 a month.

The rental agreement he received looked legitimate and the man renting the home even provided a credible looking passport for identification.

Before wiring a deposit and first month's rent, Donovan decided to ask a real estate expert he knew to check things out.

Kevin Fletcher of Exit Realty in Cherry Creek quickly warned Donovan that the deal was not legitimate.

Fletcher did some research and found the name on the fake landlord's passport matched  that of the owner of the home, but the picture was fake.

He also found a different agent had already listed the home for sale.

“I felt like a fool. Honestly, I've been talking to this guy for a week now getting the logistics set to send this money. Everything was just fake,” Donovan said.

Experts offer the advice to avoid getting taken in a rental scam:

  • Be realistic about how much a home is likely to rent for
  • Never send cash to a prospective landlord
  • Do an internet search on the property address that can reveal if it is listed by another legitimate landlord

For more information about how to avoid rental scams visit Stop Fraud Colorado's website.

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