ANDERSON, Ind.— An Anderson woman will get her $500 back following a Call 6 Investigation into a rental scam she fell victim to.
After finding a rental property on a Facebook buy and sell page, Beverly McKinney sent $500 through MoneyGram to a Mishawaka Wal-Mart to a man she thought was her realtor’s attorney.
However, it was just a scam.
Anderson Police conducted an investigation and found the man in Mishawaka was also a victim of the intricate rental scam.
The second victim was approached by a man in a sports bar outside of the University of Notre Dame, claiming to be a ND grad student.
“The man posing as a ND grad student told the Mishawaka man that he was in school and was needing $500 to help pay his rent,” said Major Joel Sandefur, Anderson Police Department. “Therefore, the Mishawaka man loaned him $500 with the promise from the posing ND grad student that a female friend of his would be sending him his money via Instagram at the local Wal-Mart. The unsuspecting Mishawaka man picked up his $500 as arranged.”
Little did the second victim know he was being scammed, just like McKinney.
Once the Mishawaka man found out what happened, he agreed to pay back McKinney the $500 she sent him.
Unfortunately, the Mishawaka man will be out $500.
Anderson Police said they have exhausted all viable leads and have not made any arrests.
McKinney is on a fixed income, and credited Call 6 Investigates for help in getting her money back.
“I’m thrilled,” said McKinney. “What you at the station did was bring these types of scams to everyone’s attention and I’m very thankful for that. I hope it helps all others out there, thank you!”
The Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana issued an alert earlier this year warning people about rental scams, in which the scammers use websites and social media to get deposits from consumers even though they don’t own the property.
BBB Tips to avoiding a rental property scam:
- Watch out for deals that are too good. Scammers lure you in by promising low rents, extra amenities, great locations, and other perks. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam. Search online for the listings, or the scammer’s email address or phone number. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, or the same property on different sites with different dollar amounts, that’s a huge red flag.
- Resist the sense of urgency. Scammers often give a sense of urgency in their requests for a deposit due to high interest in the property. They also appear to be very eager to offer you the lease without doing any kind of background checks.
- See the property in person. Don’t send money or share your personal information with someone you’ve never met for a property you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised. And be suspicious of the out-of-state/overseas landlord story: Scammers often claim to be out of the state or country and instruct targets to send money to areas that can’t be traced.