Viral Newz

‘Bad actors’ also try to take advantage of hot Austin housing market

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s housing market is booming and, as more people buy and rent homes, there are more people looking to take advantage of others.

One victim we talked to, who wished to remain anonymous, says she lost more than a thousand dollars on a fake listing.

She says she was looking for a new place to live when she found a place for $1,700, but the deal she thought she was getting ended up costing her more.

“They have my social security number, they have my birthday, where I am currently living and I don’t know what they might do with that,” said the woman.

After texting and talking to the person she thought was the landlord, she then set up a time to see the home. She even was able to get inside by putting a code into a lockbox at the property.

After looking around the property she says she ended up wiring the money, but after the fake landlord received the money he stopped responding.

“I still hadn’t received the lease by the next morning,” the woman said. “His number is disconnected”

Unfortunately, these situations are more common than you might think. People often advertise properties that do not exist, or aren’t available to rent.

“It is across all forms of real estate,” said Drew Kayes with OpenDoor. “Whether it is traditional where agents are involved or with a real estate technology company like OpenDoor. All markets are red hot and the more of something there is the more opportunity there is for bad actors.”

OpenDoor has a safety page on their website explaining what you should watch out for. They post signs around the home that let people know their properties are not for rent.

Most cons involve a request to wire funds. Do not wire funds to anyone you haven’t met personally. People will look to create convincing reasons why they need to deal remotely. Likewise, do not accept wire funds that you did not initiate.

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