Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty said Wednesday that Central Oregon Realtors have passed along word that a not-uncommon, fraudulent real estate scheme involving rental properties may be operating again in Central Oregon.
The criminal locates a legitimate, active real estate listing on the Internet and advertises that property for rent on craigslist.com.
When a person inquires about the rental property, he or she is encouraged to send a deposit or provide personal information in order to obtain the keys to look at the property.
The hopeful renter loses their security deposit and, to the extent they provided personal information to the criminal, also becomes a victim of identity theft.
Beyond the obvious consequences for the person who loses their “security deposit” and becomes a likely victim of identity theft, the owner or Relator who listed the property must expend resources addressing the fraud.
"Law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to do much more than take a report on cases like this," the DA said in a news release, "and rarely will the unsuspecting renter have information sufficient to allow the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute the thief."
The link below is a news story about such a scam that was operating in the Portland area several months ago.