Local Resident Falls Victim to Lehigh Acres Property Scam

During these economic times, it is advised for everyone, especially homebuyers or prospective tenants to be extra careful when dealing or entering into questionable contracts or agreements. As in the case of a local resident of Lehigh Acres who has fallen prey into a rental property scam.  The resident contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s office to file a report regarding a fraudulent transaction of a bogus rental property that was listed on the Internet.

The Lehigh Acres resident read and had responded to an ad that was placed in Craigslist about a duplex that was on Benton Street. She had made an initial meeting with the individual who acted as the supposed property manager on July 7th.   During the meeting, the victim had realized that she knew this individual prior to this first encounter.  This has led the resident to write a money order in the amount of $300 to be used as security deposit.

After the transaction was made, the resident and the individual had agreed to schedule a second meeting slated on July 13th.  On this agreed date, the resident would receive the keys and other documents to the listed property.  However when the resident turned up for the second meeting, the manager did not show up.  The resident had attempted to get in touch with the manager by phone but all of her calls and messages were ignored and remained unanswered.

A neighbor who currently lives in the residence had also reported that this is not the first case where a prospective tenant got scammed.  There have been reports and similar incidents where this property manager had collected multiple deposits from other would-be tenants.  The property manager would then disappear after collecting the money and leaving the victims scammed.

Right now, the ad is still currently listed in Craigslist while the sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation on this report that was filed by the victim.

In order to avoid these types of scams, it is advisable for prospective tenants to be very selective in whom they deal with in these types of transactions.  It would be best for them not to go rushing into a deal without doing their research first about the property and the persons involved in the transaction.  It is also recommended to get leads on rental properties from reputable SWFL rentals companies to avoid being scammed.
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