Michelle Lowe

About Michelle Lowe

Delivering the news in North MS and West AL. has been just one more "Day in the Life" since 2007. Anchor of WCBI News at 9 on MYMS, co-anchor WCBI News at 10. Email me with story ideas!

Starkville Police Warn of Online Scam Involving Rental Property

STARKVILLEE, Miss. – (WCBI) The Starkville Police Department has been made aware of a recent “scam” in which an individual placed an ad on a Popular Website posing as the Complex Owner/Property Manager of a Starkville, MS property.

The “scam listings” are sometimes for completely fictional homes and the sole intent of the posting is to either steal your identity or swindle you out of a “fee” for a credit check that will never actually occur or a deposit to hold this “Too Good to be True” deal. Other times, scammers will copy the listing of a legitimate advertised apartment and list it at a much cheaper price than the actual listing. (As was the case in this recent complaint.)

Here are some warning signs to look for when trying to determine if a listing is bogus:

1. Is there a phone number you can call and communicate with an actual person? Or is the only contact via email? A warning sign is an email response from the “bogus lister” in which the address is a long series of consonants. This is a sign you are dealing with someone using an auto-generated email account so as to make things harder to trace. If you have buyers contact you through a service like ListHD, their email will contain the buyer’s IP address. This allows you to look up their location to be sure they are nearby.

2. Is the monthly rental amount on the lower side of rents for that area?

3. Do you feel pressured to act immediately? (There’s an urgent situation and they need to get rid of or sublet, or a story of a sudden job move or emergency.)

4. Are you being asked to send money through Western Union or MoneyGram? Many scams from out of the County will ask for you to wire funds.

5. Are you being asked for credit card numbers, bank account numbers or social security numbers? This information should never be given unless you are positive who will be receiving the information and that it is being transmitted over a secure server.

If you find a fraudulent listing…

Report it to Local Law Enforcement

Contact the publisher where the advertisement originated

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission