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Zoey_JD
Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23928
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I deposited $2700 to a landlady in NY 2 month rental

Customer Question

I deposited $2700 to a landlady in NY for a 2 month rental in Portland. I was promised the keys as soon as she received the money. She now wants another $2700 Upfront (months rent plus deposit). I bank with Chase - I have her account details and she banks with Chase too.
How can I get my money back?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question.
This corresponds perfectly with what happens in a rental scam. Here's how the scam works, and I'm sure it will look perfectly familiar to you:
You see a home in a desirable area on a site such as Craigslist. The price of the rental for the area will be much too good to be true. The owner will tell you that he or she cannot show you the house and will have some kind of reasonable excuse. However, he says that he has keys and all you have to do is wire the deposit and he will send you the keys and the lease.
Of course, the keys never come, even though as part of the scam you may end up signing a lease. That is because there is no house for rent. There are no keys. Your money is gone and your "landlord" is nowhere to be found either, since everything she told you is a lie.
If the house exists at all you will find the premises occupied by a longtime owner or tenant who doesn't know what you're talking about because it was never actually for rent. And there you are, without a home having also lost hefty sum of cash, with no legal recourse, since your scammers can be anyone anywhere in the world.
You can read more about this on Snopes.com.
http://www.snopes.com/fraud/sales/rental.asp
You've reported it to your local police, but they have no jurisdiction outside of your own area. So report it to the FBI at IC3.gov, and to Craiglist or wherever you found the ad so they will take it down. Contact your bank as well. If the scammer hasn't withdrawn against the funds, Chase may be able to reverse this for you.
Contact the police in the town where your scammer banks. Report the scam and give them the bank account information and the fact that you have the scammer still on the hook. Tell them that you're willing to assist them in a sting to catch this person. They don't need you to do that as they can subpoena bank records and find out the name of the account holder. But if they can bring the scammer to justice, you can sue for your money back or have the person prosecuted for fraud and get restitution.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Zoey for your answer. It was extremely helpful.
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.
You're very welcome.
These scams are pretty popular. Never rent what you can't see unless you're dealing through a real estate broker you have vetted and know to be 100% reliable. Otherwise, sending an up front fee upon the promise that you're going to get keys in the mail is a formula for disaster. You have no proof that your so-called seller even has the authority to transact.
Good luck!