SCAM ALERT: Shomrim Issues Warning Over Criminal Scheme Targeting Home Renters

In the quiet streets of Lakewood, a concerning scam has emerged, targeting unsuspecting home renters. Lakewood Shomrim has issued a warning following a recent incident that highlights the increasing sophistication of rental scams in the area.

On Sunday night, a call was received by Lakewood Shomrim from a homeowner who was alarmed to find a group of unknown individuals in his house, which was listed for sale. Shomrim members responded immediately, in coordination with the Lakewood Police Department, to investigate the situation.

Upon arrival and thorough investigation, it became apparent that the individuals in the house were victims of a scam. These individuals had found a listing on Facebook offering the house for rent. After a lengthy conversation with the supposed landlord, they handed over rent money, and were then instructed to enter the house through the back door.

The scam exploited the trust and urgency often seen in rental situations. The scammers posed as legitimate landlords, offering attractive rental deals on social media platforms such as Facebook. Unsuspecting victims, in their eagerness to secure a home, often overlook the need for due diligence, making them easy targets.

In the wake of this incident, Lakewood Shomrim has issued an urgent advisory to the community. They urge potential renters to be extremely cautious when engaging in rental agreements, especially those initiated online. Shomrim emphasizes the importance of verifying the identity of the landlord and the legitimacy of the rental offer.

Key Recommendations for Safe Renting

Always Meet the Landlord in Person: Arrange to meet the landlord or representative at the property you intend to rent. This not only confirms the legitimacy of the listing but also gives you an opportunity to inspect the property.

Verify Ownership: Conduct a background check to ensure that the person you are dealing with is the actual owner or a legally authorized representative.

Beware of Unusual Payment Requests: Be cautious if asked to send money through untraceable methods or before signing a formal lease agreement.

Seek Legal Advice: If in doubt, consult with a legal expert before entering into any rental agreements.

Report Suspicious Activities: If you encounter a suspicious listing or rental offer, report it to local authorities and community safety groups like the Shomrim.

 

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