The Trenton Police Department is warning residents of a scam using vacant properties for sale in the Trenton area.
“A person claiming to be the owner of the property posts in various online forums that they are renting a property, home or the like,” said the department. “They then conduct business entirely by texts, email or a social media app. The ‘owner’ will then require the prospective tenant(s) to fill out an application and pay a ‘background check’ fee using Cash App, Venmo, Zelle or some similar payment service. Once they have your personal information and money you will be approved and must immediately send the ‘deposit’ via the same method to lock-in their agreement and then the ‘owner’ will send the keys and contract. The keys and contract never arrive and the potential tenant is out the money which is virtually impossible to recover.”
The department offered the following tips for those looking for property, homes or business locations.
- Confirm ownership of the property which is easily done in Texas by looking on the County Appraisal District website.
- Do an internet search of the property to see if there is a realtor attached to it. Realtors in Texas are licensed by the state and have laws they must follow.
- Check the website for the app that the ‘owner’ wants payment through. Virtually all apps clearly state that you should never send money to someone that you don’t know or trust as once sent, the money cannot be recovered.
- Never send money to someone for a property that you have not toured.
- Never do business with someone who will not talk on the phone, meet in person, or provide verifiable information about themselves and the property.
- Never send your personal information to anyone that you do not know.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of this scam, contact the Trenton Police Department at 903-989-2167.