Real estate scam hitting local market

Posted at: 02/12/2013 5:38 PM
Updated at: 02/12/2013 6:41 PM
By: Eddie Garcia, KOB Eyewitness News 4

KOB Eyewitness News 4 is exposing what some call a 'scam' hitting Albuquerque's real estate market.

People are posing as landlords and offering rock bottom rental prices.

What's shaking the real estate industry is they're now advertising on legitimate rental sites.

The scheme is startling people like Jenny Klimisch who, legitimately, just sold her house.

"That's a form of identity theft, that's really scary," said Klimisch.

Klimisch lives just down the street from a home for sale which was recently targeted by rental scammers.

They used the real owners name and tried to get prospective tenants to send information - and eventually money.

"That's the frightening thing, is that they could be making money on your property when you don't even know what's going on," said Klimisch.

The homes are falsely advertised on legitimate rental websites  along with sites like Craigslist.

Realtors say if you're looking for a rental property that you should go with an established property management company.

"The things that scream ‘scam’ are things like, they're out of the country; it was a last minute trip; they're out of state; they want you to wire them the money," said Coldwell Banker Real Estate Broker Mike Carter.

Carter says those who place the fake ads get real names from public tax records.

That’s unsettling news to Klimisch.

"We need to have some safeguards in place. I'm really afraid for all of the information that is out there on all of us about everything," said Klimisch.

"It's almost impossible to hide an owner’s name because again going to a site like Bernco.gov wherever that tax bill goes it's public knowledge," said Carter.

Carter says suspected scammers are using those tools to their advantage.

"Evidently, they're smart, they're always trying to stay one step ahead," said Carter.