BRIEF: Police Warn of Rental Housing Scam
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by Big Island Now Staff
Big Island police have issued a warning to prospective renters to watch out for housing scams.
Lt. Gregory Esteban said a posting on craigslist offered a house for rent on Haili Street in Hilo. However, the ad is a fraud, he said, and the house is actually in escrow and not available for rent.
Esteban said the ad comes with attractive terms, such as free utilities and cats are welcome. However, when an interested renter responds to the email posted with the ad the scammer claims to be out of the country for several years and looking for a responsible renter to take care of the house.
Craigslist warns people to be leery of landlords who claim to be out of country.
The warning reads: “DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on craigslist.” Craiglist also warns against renting housing without seeing the interior first, as “in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent.”
“We are aware of similar scams like this on the mainland, where criminals prey on individuals looking for a reasonably-priced house,” Esteban said. “We don’t want our residents to fall victim to this kind of scam.”
The craigslist ad for the supposed Haili Street rental is no longer posted.