What is the legal procedures when one of your posters acts to fraud?

Asked by sdyoungko, Denver, CO Sun Aug 19, 2012

My wife and I tried to rent from Mr. Gerald Thomas Jr [mailto:updates@trulia.com], on property located at 4504 S Newton St, Denver CO. We sent our application and $1100 through Western Union. With fees of $100 that he was going to recoup. He lives in Amarillo, TX and sent the keys to my wife via Speedway Courier. All money was sent 15-16 Aug. He sent keys via the tracking number on the 15th. The keys were to arrive the 16th. He placed a hold on the keys and started texting my wife for more money. I am retiring from the AF in 13 days and sent all the money we had. now Mr. Thomas will not contact us and has not sent our money back. Monday the 20th my wife will be filing a complaint with the Denver police dept. Any help you can provide or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I can be emailed at sdyoungko@yahoo.com my wife at bp2young@yahoo.com.

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Don Tepper’s answer
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Call the police.

By the way, the guy you were dealing with isn't named Gerald Thomas. And he doesn't live in Amarillo.

This is an extremely common scam. Craigslist (and Trulia and others) have all sorts of warnings posted about it.

By the way, didn't you think doing business that way was unusual? That Gerry didn't have a representative (Realtor, neighbor, other) in Denver? That he was willing to turn over keys to an expensive property to someone he'd never met? That he was willing to rent the property so much under market? And that his texts were in awkward or broken English?

Didn't you even thnk to check online to see whether that house was listed for sale? I see it listed as a HUD foreclosure for $200,000. See http://www.trulia.com/property/3090435910-4504-S-Newton-St-D…

You should call the police. But that money is gone forever. Next time, follow normal procedures and exercise due dilligence.
1 vote
Laura Feghali, Agent, Stamford, CT
Sun Aug 19, 2012
It sounds like you are dealing with a scammer as there are numerous instances of them out on real estate sites posing as landlords attempting to gain personal information or people's money. The usual ruse is that they take a listing that is for sale and post the information as if it is for rent.

Yes, do contact the police and if the listing is appearing on the Trulia site then flag the listing and contact a Trulia moderator at: 888-466-3501 M-F from 7:00am-4:00pm PST. You can also send them an email about it to: http://www.trulia.com/help/ask. They normally respond within 48 hours.

Good luck on getting this resolved!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
1 vote
Thank you I appreciate the information. I believe he has already shut down the listing. But we will follow up to the help desk and call Monday.
Flag Sun Aug 19, 2012
kiley.foxtrot, Home Seller, Denver, CO
Fri Sep 21, 2012
I believe by this time the writer knows he was scammed. Why don't you brokers continue smacking him in the head, telling him he screwed up and what he should do next time? I would think there won't be a next time. Good heavens, the pomposity of you people.
0 votes
Bob Costello, Agent, Highlands Ranch, CO
Fri Aug 24, 2012
I have some land in Florida for you.
Why do people still fall for this ??
0 votes
Itiswhatitis, Home Buyer, Denver, CO
Thu Aug 23, 2012
Hello Sir,

My name is Prince Abdullah from the east. Many opportunities await us here.

E-mail's that start like this: AVOID THEM
0 votes
Itiswhatitis, Home Buyer, Denver, CO
Thu Aug 23, 2012
Seriously? This didn't sound fishy to you? Never Western Union money to anyone for anything unless you personally know them.
0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Regret to hear you are a victim of a scam, sorry for your loss.

Prudent for you to get in touch with the authorities.

In the future work with a Local Agent, rather than with someone living in another State and wanting to send the Keys by mail.

This is sadly a very common Scam and it is well indicated to Beware.

Good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.ruthandperry.com
0 votes
Kevin (720)…, , Denver County, CO
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Sorry to hear that this happened. In the long run this hurts us all. I hope the police find the dirt bag.

Good luck to you.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Aug 19, 2012
And, to expand on what Don Tepper wrote, he didn't send the keys, either.
0 votes
Robert McGui…, Agent, Denver, CO
Sun Aug 19, 2012

So sorry to hear of your dilemna. This is a common internet real estate scam perpetrated on Craigslist, Trulia and other sites. Our office had a foreclosed home for sale a scammers actually came in and held open houses on the weekends and obtained leases and deposits from several potential renters who all came to move in on the 1st of the month. You really have to do due diligence on these deals and take no one at their word. I would start with the police and Trulia, the courier services, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, there is seldom any resolution on these type of scam transactions. Best of luck and sucess to you in getting it resolved. I am especially sorry for you as a retiring military veteran. Check to see if there may be some assistance you can get from Veteran's Affairs.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
1776 S. Jackson St. #412
Denver CO 80210
Direct – 303-669-1246
0 votes
Al Parker, Agent, Englewood, CO
Sun Aug 19, 2012
The property you tried to rent is a foreclosed home owned by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Sorry, but as you probably know by now you have been scammed.
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Immediate red flags that shouts SCAM!!! DO NOT ever wire money for a rental, do not ever wait for keys to come in the mail, At this point go to the police, it soundslike you have been scammed. Do not wait any longer, just go to the police now. When renting a home you always want to make sure you see it before renting, make sure the person who says they are the owner are indeed the owner by checking teh tax card at the assessors office. Then never wire money, once it i wired chances are that it is gone for ever. Good luck working things out, slim chance it may not be a scam but it sounds like the most common rentals scam going in all 50 states
0 votes
Sally Grenier, Agent, Boulder, CO
Sun Aug 19, 2012
This is a typical scam! Why would you send money out of state? Did you actually view the property in person? Did you meet the guy in person? I'm sorry but it sounds like you've lost that money. A very expensive lesson in how not to rent something. Always always always meet the landlord in person and make sure they are the owners of the property (you can do this through public records). Or if it's a property management company, make sure they indeed have a contract with the owner and are authorized to lease the property on the owner's behalf.
0 votes
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