Scammers in Burke County are using social media to try to pull off a scam on prospective renters, the sheriff’s office said Monday.
The scammers recently targeted a house listed for sale on the Burke County Multiple Listing Service. They listed the house for rent on social media and included pictures of the home they found on the MLS website, sheriff’s investigators said.
The fake rental listing included a contact email address and phone number. A narrative was included stating the home is for rent because the occupants are out of the country on an extended mission trip.
The fake advertisement also asked prospective renters to send a security deposit and first month’s rent. Upon receipt of the rent and deposit, the victim would receive a confirmation email and be directed to report to the “Real Estate Office” to pick up the keys.
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Sheriff’s investigators called the listed number and identified themselves as investigators. The person then hung up.
No arrests have been made, but the investigation is continuing, the sheriff’s office said. Investigators are working with the Burke County Board of Realtors on the case. A board member notified the sheriff’s office of the scam on April 6.
Anyone in the market for a rental home should always call a real estate office to confirm that a potential rental home is for rent and not for sale, the sheriff’s office said. And never send money, gift cards or money grams to unknown sources.