Consumer Alert: Kentuckians warned of property listing scams

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued a consumer alert Friday warning Kentuckians of scams related to property listings.

With housing demand outpacing supply in many communities, scammers are altering property listings in order to take advantage of Kentuckians seeking rental housing.

Cameron’s Office of Consumer Protection has received reports of scammers impersonating real estate agents or property owners.

In these schemes, the scammer alters a property listing made by a legitimate agency or owner by listing it as a rental home on a social media or classified advertisement platform under their name and contact information.

“In this tight housing market, Kentuckians should be on guard for scammers who post property listings that don’t belong to them in order to collect deposits,” said Cameron. “We encourage anyone who encounters a possible scam to report it immediately to our office by visiting ag.ky.gov/scams or by calling 1-888-432-9257.”

Once a consumer expresses interest in the property, the scammer often claims they cannot provide a walk-through due to health concerns related to COVID-19 and asks the consumer to make a security deposit before viewing the rental.

Scammers typically request payment through an online platform or peer-to-peer payment applications.

Before renting a property, Attorney General Cameron urges Kentuckians to follow these tips:

  • Visit the property before paying a security deposit or signing a lease. If a rental isn’t available for an in-person walkthrough, don’t rent the property. Also, be sure to view a rental before paying a security deposit or signing a lease.
  • Watch out for odd payment requests. Avoid dealing with companies or individuals who require payment through wired funds, gift cards, online payment platforms (like PayPal), or peer-to-peer payment apps (like Cash App or Venmo).
  • Research the owner and listing. Search online to ensure the property is available for rent, and confirm the company and contact information matches the rental advertisement posted on other platforms.
  • Watch out for poor grammar. Beware of poorly-written rental descriptions that include misspellings.
  • Work with reputable companies. Avoid renting from companies or individuals who are not available by phone during regular business hours or request to communicate solely through text messages. Visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to review information regarding a company’s reputation.

To report scams, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 or complete our online scam complaint form.

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