Scammers are harming the reputation of Myrtle Beach. Bogus rentals are being listed, at great prices, by criminals that are willing to use the name of deceased individuals in their listings. The scams are appearing on Craig’s List, with local authorities warning potential renters and tourists to watch for scams.
The scammers are finding homes that are for sale, copying the real estate description and using the information to steal money from renters.
In this case, the scammer named Ken Broderick as the person listing the ad. The problem is that Broderick was the property’s former owner and died several years ago. The listing looks legitimate with the scammer asking potential renters to send a down payment before viewing the property.
The scam is hitting a lot of Myrtle Beach condos that are unoccupied or heavily rented during the summer season.
The local police department warns that the scammer makes the down payment seem like an urgent matter. The scammer will go to great lengths to have potential renters send them money through MoneyGram or Western Union where they can’t ask for their money back.
Real estate professionals warn that if a lister isn’t willing to meet or show you the property, it’s a red flag that the listing is likely a scam. Renters should be able to view the home they plan on renting prior to providing a down payment. Pictures can be downloaded from previous real estate listings by scammers and sent to victims.
Experts suggest that potential renters look for red flags when viewing listings. Listings that are for homes that are currently for sale seem to be a prime target for scams. Scammers will also list homes for rent well below the market value in the area and may include utilities, too.
A user on Reddit reported a similar scam in Myrtle Beach nine months ago. The user claims a girl on Craig’s List was offering a room in her apartment for $600 a month or $180 a week. The scammer is said to offer rentals in Carolina Forest. She will meet with you and show you the room that she’s offering for rent.
She collects the potential renter’s money and tells them that they can move into the room the next day.
The scammer will then keep making excuses why the renter cannot move in yet and refuses to return the deposit. Renters in this case, when they know who the person is they gave the money to, have the option of taking the scammer to small claims court. This sort of scam is common in New York City.
Experts recommend only handing over money to an individual when you’re able to move into the unit and have a lease in your hands.
Craig’s List scams are common in Myrtle Beach. WMBF broke the news in July 2014 that scammers were using Craig’s List to list rentals in the area. The news outlet notes that this isn’t the first-time scammers have targeted the area. WMBF recommends contacting local real estate companies to look over your potential contract to see if something is off with the contract before giving money to a fake landlord.