GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KREX) — An online scammer took pre-existing photos of a property for sale then put them on Craig’s List posing as the owner trying to rent the property.
“I thought something was amiss when I got that call,” said Ris Cowen, the real estate agent for 3117 E ½ Rd property in Grand Junction.
The call was from a couple who wanted to rent the property for $700 a month, as stipulated in the fake Craig’s List post.
“This one triggered my senses because we know it’s not for rent and the person mentioned they had already been in touch and communicated with the owner about renting the house,” said Cowen, “that was a big red flag for us.”
The owner’s name and contact information are not advertised on Zillow or Century 21, the company Cowen and his wife Carol work for.
The would-be renters were in contact with a scammer. This message was sent to them via email.
The email contains many red flags such as the realtor inflating the price and trying to cheat them and not being able to see the inside of the home prior to purchase.
Luckily they contacted the Cowens when they drove by the house before they sent any money to the scammer.
I reached out to the scammer myself below are my communications with him.
After calling the Pennsylvania number I heard a man’s voice who then quickly hung up and started to text me.
After texting I received a very similar email to the aforementioned email, with one glaring change.
“You do not need to contact the number on the sale sign when you go by the house to view, they are like licensed deceitful thieves trying to steal from people. If you do you forfeited any talk we might have.”
Grand Junction Police PIO Callie Berkson said these are some red flags you should look out for when doing business online, “If somebody’s telling you no you can’t see the product until you pay me, or I’m going to send it to you after I get the information and the money that is a huge red flag.”
If you or anyone you know has fallen victim to this real estate scam contact us at KREXNEWS@nexstar.tv