PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Alina Gomez said she's been looking for a spot to rent for astir a twelvemonth now. So, erstwhile she saw a Port St. Lucie location listed connected Facebook for $1,400, she knew she had to enactment fast.
"Especially for the prices close now," she said.
She called the listing, got the keys to circuit the location done the Rently app, signed a lease and was told she could commencement moving in.
But, astatine the urging of friends, she did much probe and recovered the location was owned by a existent property company.
She called them.
"I said, 'Well, idiosyncratic is trying to rent it out, saying they ain it,' and she said, 'Well, it's a scam past if they accidental that,'" Gomez explained.
It turns retired a transgression took Gomez for $2,800.
"Completely and utterly violated," Gomez told WPTV. "They didn't conscionable interruption me. They violated my kids. You consciousness torn apart."
Port St. Lucie constabulary said they've had 16 akin incidents successful the past six months, resulting successful unsuspecting renters losing anyplace from $500 to $3,600.
"The champion happening to ever bash is enactment with a section existent property agent," Port St. Lucie constabulary Assistant Chief Richard Del Toro said. "(They) cognize the market. They cognize the owners personal. They're representing the owners."
Michelle Miller, the St. Lucie County clerk and comptroller, told WPTV immoderate ineligible spot owners person adjacent had their properties fraudulently sold.
"It is simply a large occupation and it's a increasing problem," Miller said.
She said idiosyncratic precocious listed a Port St. Lucie batch and sold it for $92,000. The rightful proprietor present has to spell to tribunal to effort and reclaim the property.
Miller is hoping much radical volition motion up for the free spot fraud alert service done her office.
"That volition let you to beryllium notified wrong 24 hours via substance oregon email should anybody grounds thing successful your name," she said. "It besides works for concern liens and spot owners."
Back astatine the location that Gomez hoped would beryllium hers, an worker with Main Street Renewal, which owns the property, was putting up caller informing signs.
"If it seems to beryllium excessively bully to beryllium existent — the terms is simply a batch little than what the marketplace is renting astatine — that would beryllium a reddish emblem close determination arsenic well," Kurt Reid said.
It's proposal Gomez is present taking to bosom erstwhile it comes to online listings.
"Do not adjacent look astatine them," Gomez told herself. "Do not adjacent click connected them."