Facebook Marketplace rental home scam takes a laid-back approach

Even without the fast talk the consequences can be costly
Facebook rental home scam takes more calm approach
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:29 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - If you’re in the market to buy a home or find a rental you’d better watch out for listings on Facebook.

The hard-selling scammers are now toning down their pitch, but the result is still the same. It’s not all about the fast talking and pressure deadlines. Crooks are now taking the opposite approach.

Danette Perna found a great home to rent off the Anthony Wayne Trail in Toledo. It had all the space she needed for just $800 and it got better.

“I was excited. Are you kidding? A house nowadays in that neighborhood for $800 including utilities. That’s just not heard of,” said Perna.

She found the listing on Facebook Marketplace. After emailing the landlord and texting back and forth, Perna visited the property twice, even bringing her dog. But because the home owner was supposedly just transferred to Texas, she could only look inside through the windows.

“He never asked me for a social, bank account information, what I did for a living, none of that,” said Perna.

These were just a few red flags, but he offered a lease agreement in writing, sent over an application and didn’t make the hard sell. She was even allowed to take her time getting all documents back.

Finally it was time to pay and she was told a check wasn’t necessary, instead he offered this:

“We can deposit it in my account through one of these ATMs and he gave me two,” said Perna.

Perna knew she was about to be scammed and brought it all to an end. Those Facebook photos came from the online listing for the home that was actually for sale.

Perna eventually spoke to the listing agent only to find the place was never available for rent. She didn’t lose money but she’s hoping people will be extra careful when finding a deal like this.

“I feel like I got sucked into something that I shouldn’t have,” said Perna.

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