Real estate scam going around Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Real estate scam going around Mid-Michigan

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MIDLAND COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A scam that has been around for many years is seeing a resurgence in Mid-Michigan and it's targeting people looking for homes to rent.

One woman almost fell victim to the scam where an online listing requests you send the alleged owner money and then they send you the keys.

"I looked on Craigslist and this house popped up," said Becca Chauvette.

She was looking for a place to rent when she thought she found a match. Chauvette contacted the person named as the owner on the listing. She claims the man told her he was out of town and emailed her a lease agreement.

"Wanted me to read it all over and send the money to Texas," she said.

Chauvette thought something was fishy so she asked her mom, an owner of a title company, to look into it. After some digging she discovered it was a scam.

"I was very thankful that my mom helped me out and I did not send my $600 to this man," she said.

A local realtor provided some tips to avoid falling victim to this scam.

"So if someone's not willing to talk to you or meet you at the property, you can be assured that it's a scam," said Julie Hare, general manager at Century 21 Signature Reality.

Hare warns prospective buyers if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

"We have it happening frequently now. So far it's happened in our Midland, Bay City and Saginaw areas," Hare said.

She said another way to know if a person wanting to rent to you is legit is to ask for their real estate license.

"Property managers have to have a real estate license. So they actually do have a license. Yes you can cask them for the license number," Hare said.

Meanwhile, Chauvette said she'll only be making deals face to face from now on. She is relieved she id not a victim, but wants justice for those who are.

"I hope he gets caught and I hope things don't keep happening like this," Chauvette said.

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