SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Bay Area renters need to be aware of a new scam popping up online. Some properties are being offered at rock-bottom rents by people who neither own, nor have control over, the properties.

”There are people who are scamming people out of money,” said Mike Sebilia, President of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, and owner of Keller Williams Realty.

He said that they get calls every two weeks or so from people asking if one of their “for sale” properties is for rent.

”They see the sign on the property and they call the agent that has the home for sale, and they’re told right away ‘no, this home is not for rent.’”

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

What’s happening is that scammers have copied and pasted the online listing advertising it as a rental, in an attempt to get prospective tenants to send in a deposit. Paul Colin with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit said that it is nearly impossible to get people’s deposits back.

”If we can’t identify the people that we need to find, it’s going to be hard for us to help you,” said Colin.

This type of fraud is exacerbated by the foreclosure crisis because some former owners are renting out their properties just before they are sold by the bank.

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