January 27, 2012
REAL ESTATE & OTHER SCAMS
The Long Beach Township Police Department has recently investigated several real estate scams. There have been homes from the Long Beach Township area which were listed on Craig’s List and other websites for rent. The homeowners list their property but the suspects will copy the online ad and will list the property for rent at a much lower price. When people read the ad online the suspect will request a 60% – 70% down payment through a bank transfer. The homeowner sometimes will find out when the person renting the property emails questions or checks the ownership of the property and finds it is not whom they were emailing with. On extreme cases the renters may even show up at the home and find it already rented by someone else. In the most recent case the renter found an ocean front home for the price of $1550.00 a week plus a security deposit of $400.00 plus an 8% tax. If the deal seems too good to be true it probably isn’t.
Other scams that have been occurring have been:
People receive phone calls from “collection companies” for past due accounts. They ask the victim to purchase a pre-paid Visa or similar card and mail the card to the collection company to satisfy the debt.
Family scams – the victims, usually the elderly, will receive a call from an individual identifying themselves as an attorney representing a family member who has been arrested in another country; i.e. Canada, and they request bail be sent through Western Union so that the family member may be released and not sent to jail.
Foreign Lotteries – The victims will receive a call or email telling them that they have won a foreign lottery and not to tell anyone. The victim is asked to send an amount of money to the lottery commission in the country in order to receive their prize.
In all the above cases the victim will lose the money expended to the scammer and due to the fact most of these scams are occurring out of the United States there is little or no recourse for the victim. The Long Beach Township Police investigate these cases as far as possible and often forward them to federal agencies for further investigation or intelligence gathering purposes.
Contact: Det. Hullings