“Housing scams have been pretty common in the past, but now, it’s housing scams on steroids,” said broker for John L. Scott, Alice Lema.
She says most scammers strike when areas have faced disaster, like the Almeda Fire, knowing people are vulnerable and searching for a new home.
“Because of the fire situation, it’s even harder to find a place to live and people are just scrambling and you know, out of desperation, they’ll try to jump onto something thinking it’s legit and it’s not,” said Lema.
She says if a housing situation seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I even reached out to one of the posts on Craigslist that Lema claims was fraudulent. I was in contact with the person who claimed to be renting out the house, but the listing has since been removed and is now claimed to be a scam online.
Lema recommends people do basic research on the property they’re interested in and should avoid giving money or their social security numbers out in order to ‘reserve’ a spot.
“Go onto Jackson County Oregon Front Counter Data Express, we have an amazing website in Jackson County where you can actually see who the property owner is and you can see the details of the property,” Lema adds.
For anyone who is struggling to find housing, Lema says to keep trying, “As real estate agents, we’re out there talking to people all the time to try and help bring more homes and apartments and rentals on the market, so don’t give up.”