Scammer targets potential renters

The Island County Sheriff’s Office is warning potential home renters of a “popular scam” on Whidbey Island that is costing some people their security deposit and first month’s rent.

The scammer, who is purporting to work for the United Nations and is being transferred to West Africa, searches for homes for rent or sale in the area and uses social media to find out as much information about the occupants and property as possible, according to information from the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

This accumulated information is used in an ad that appears on Craigslist to convince an unsuspecting renter that the deal is authentic. The advertisement also lists the rent lower than market value. The scammer then asks the interested renter to send a check or money order for first and last month’s rent along with a security deposit.

“Please pass this information along to anyone who might be renting property either privately or through a property management company,” said Sheriff Mark Brown in a news release. A sample letter for the scammer is available through the Sheriff’s Office.


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