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RENTERS BEWARE: Internet scams take new twist

July 7, 2012


COLUMBIA CITY — A newer kind of internet scam has made its way on classified ad websites, causing apartment seekers to beware of what they are purchasing.
“It’s been a year and a half since I got a first report on it,” said Whitley County Sheriff’s Detective Chuck Vogely.
According to a press release from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Detective Division, the scammer posts an ad of a home for rent on sites such as Craig’s List, providing information to a response in the form of an email address or phone number, asking for texts only. The scammer also tells a story to a potential victim, regarding hardship or circumstance, stating how they need to make a quick sell.
The press release said the scammer includes fraudulent ads and detailed descriptions, attempting to have the victim send money for a rent deposit and first month’s rent through a cash transfer service such as MoneyGram or purchase and send the scammer a prepaid credit card through a service such as Green Dot. The potential victim will then receive a package allowing them access to the home, but will later discover the bank owns it.
Vogely said the best way to protect yourself against any kind of internet scam is to be on the alert paying particular attention to grammar.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Vogely.
In the instance of renting an apartment, Vogely said it may be a little harder to know if it is a scam, but it is good idea to inspect the place prior to renting it.
To avoid internet scams in general, Vogely also said if someone is going to use their debit card over the internet to purchase something, they are better off using a credit card instead.
“If you’re going to use something, use a credit card,” said Vogley. “On a credit card, they are always good about reimbursing.”

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