Homeowner learns of scam after potential renters show up

Criminals try to get would-be renters to send deposit money overseas

Published On: Feb 25 2013 03:36:59 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

A homeowner on Madison's north side learned about a scam earlier this month after being surprised by well-meaning couples showing up at his home wanting to take a look inside.

The homeowner had posted his home on Judy Lane for rent, and he quickly learned criminals had pirated his listing information and the photos he had taken of his house.

The crooks posted his property on other websites, including trulia.com and hotpads.com. Everything was the same -- except for the rental price. The con artists had drastically reduced that, making the home look like an incredibly good deal, according to a Madison Police Department incident report.

Those trying to commit fraud indicated that interested parties should just stop by, and some did. Based on conversations the surprised homeowner had with these people, it appears the ploy was to have would-be renters send deposit money overseas, police said.

Police said this is a relatively common scam. Those seeking rental properties should make sure they are dealing with legitimate property owners, and it should be a red flag whenever anyone is trying to get you to send funds to other countries.

Police said the homeowner did not know if anyone, in the case of his rental property, had been duped.