A Rental Scam in Illinois

A Rental Scam in Illinois

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A Rental Scam in IllinoisThe ABC7 I-Team is investigating a rental scam in Illinois that’s using technology to trick people out of their money.

The scheme is simple: a fake landlord can easily obtain entry codes to rental homes from a legitimate website and then dupe unsuspecting house hunters out of security deposits.

The I-Team is revealing how easily it can be done after obtaining access to suburban homes. It took only 30 seconds for me to get access codes to open a lock box and get inside a 3-bedroom Bolingbrook home that rents for about $2,200 a month.

The person giving me the information to get in is not the landlord or a realtor – it’s a colleague in North Carolina working with the I-Team to expose this nationwide risk to would-be renters.

The concern is that anyone can access those codes and get the keys – opening doors for people to pose as property owners, preying on unsuspecting renters.

Valerie Thorpe says she lost $1,700 to someone who manipulated the system.

“I really blinked and thought that this was going to be perfect for me and my kids and now I am having to start over with absolutely nothing,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe said she sent a deposit to a con artist who had nothing to do with American Homes 4 Rent, but he used that site to get information on the listing, obtain a key code, and then to post his own fraudulent ad on Craigslist.

“He said when you get to the property, give me a call and I will give you the code to get into the lockbox,” Thorpe said.

Unfortunately, a rental scam in Illinois is too common. How do you protect yourself from such scams?

  1. Don’t pay the first and last in cash. If you write a check, you might have an opportunity to stop payment on the check.
  2. The rental agent may say they are out of town and want you to wire money.
  3. They say they’re out of the country. But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or an “agent” working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. Don’t send money to them overseas. If you can’t meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking.
  4. They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease
  5. Craig’s List offers this advice. There should be photos. One way to detect it’s a rental scam in Illinois: the ad should have photos?
  6. If it is priced lower than the competition, it probably is too good to be true.
  7. Look for spelling errors. Emails from scammers are often littered with grammatical mistakes and typos. If the email is difficult to read, lengthy, or includes a sad story, then it’s possibly a scam.
  8. They do a credit check and it doesn’t matter that you have a poor credit history and two previous evictions.
  9. Zillow advises: Requests for personal or financial information. Do not provide your bank account number or Social Security Number to unknown sources. First verify it is a trusted source and then only provide this information sparingly.
  10. Call us. We’ve worked with a lot of rental agents and are familiar with the neighborhoods.

Kelbry Properties LLC is Kenosha County, Lake County’s and Mchenry County’s premier real estate solutions company. Since our inception, we have been helping homeowners along with improving communities in each and every city we work in.

Through our extensive knowledge of the business, network of resources, and years of expertise, we are able to assist homeowners with a wide variety of real estate problems. We pride ourselves on our reputation for working one-on-one with each customer to handle their individual situations.

With the ability to directly purchase homes and make cash offers, we can create an extremely fast, and hassle-free transaction.

Call us today at 224-321-5300

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