Beware of rental ad scams
Alleged Scam Ad
Some people who responded to the person who placed this ad reported to local authorities they believed it was a scam.
There is only one address 30 on Charles Street, a home on the east side. It does not offer apartments. The apartment building on the west side has address number 12.
Scammers targeting Pinedale housing shortage
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
December 12, 2008
Apartment Seekers Beware: An apartment for rent ad in one of the local newspapers has caused concern that the ad is a scam. Several people have reported having suspicions about the legitimacy of the ad. It advertises a two bedroom, newly remodeled apartment for rent for $900 a month. The only contact given to respond to the ad was a yahoo.com e-mail address.
A person who contacted the advertiser by e-mail shared their e-mail response. The supposed landlord says he is on a missionarycall in the Ukraine, which is why he is looking for a responsible person to take care of his home because he will be gone for two years. Rev. William McKenney said he owned the property and he is "willing to accept" a security deposit of $900, and will send the keys to the house as soon as he receives the rental deposit money. The man said the address of the apartment was 30 Charles Street in Pinedale.
According to Jeness Saxton with the Sublette County Assessor’s Office, there is no property in Pinedale, or anywhere in Sublette County, owned by anyone named William McKenney. There is only one building on Charles Street in Pinedale with the 30 address. That building is a home on the east side of town which is currently for sale and listed with High Mountain Real Estate. It has no apartments in it and it is not for rent. Even though there is an apartment building on the west side of Charles Street, that building has a different address and is not owned by McKenney. There is no building on the west side block of Charles Street with the "30" address numbering. Saxton mentioned she recalled a similar situation that caused concern about six months ago in which someone advertised an apartment for rent at the 30 Charles Street address. That scam used a different name as the contact person.
Anyone with internet access can research property ownership information on the map server on the Sublette County website, http://www.sublettewyo.com. Zoom in to the area of the county in which you are interested and then use the menu items on the right to select and display the information for that property.
On Thursday, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office issued a Fraud Alert for Sublette County based on the number of complaints received about this apartment for rent classified ad. Below is their release:
SUBLETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Fraud Alert-Sublette County
Pinedale, Wyoming – December 11, 2008 – A number of scams have surfaced recently in Sublette County; most of them appearing in emails. The most recent scam is an apartment/house rental scam which appeared as an ad in a local newspaper. According to the ad, contact for additional information is to be made through email. After initial contact is made, the scammer requests a "deposit", which is to be wired through Western Union to an address and people in the Ukraine. If money is wired to this location, the scammer simply disappears and the money is lost.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office urges everyone to be aware of the existence of these types of scams. Most of these scams originate in Eastern Europe or West Africa and are very difficult to trace. The scammer appears sincere and frequently offers something of great value in exchange for a "deposit" or personal information – your social security number, bank account number, credit card number, etc. Legitimate businesses/ business persons will never ask you for this type of information by email. Legitimate businesses have secure websites for receiving personal information.
Be alert for the following indicators of a possible scam:
- Unsolicited requests for personal information
- Offering large amounts of money for the use of your bank account or personal information.
- The correspondence is poorly worded with improper grammar and punctuation.
- The email uses catch phrases like "Lottery Winner, Prize Winner, Cash Grant Recipient, Re-investment, Allocation, Beneficiary, Inheritance Recipient, etc.
- The email claims to be from the "international Monetary Fund", "United Nations Organization 57", or some other fictitious organization
- The e-mail claims to be from the IRS or the FBI. These U.S. Government entities DO NOT conduct business by email
As always, if something appears too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
If you choose to use the internet for shopping or other business purposes, research the company you want to do business with. If in doubt, resources such as the online Business Bureau (onlinebusinessrealestate.com can be helpful. For additional information or other questions contact the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office at 307367-4378.
Deputy Mark Farrell
Sheriff Bardy Bardin