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Online rental fraud happening in Pueblo

Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 09:57:07-05

PUEBLO – There is a warning about fraud happening to people trying to rent homes in Pueblo.”Their story’s convincing, said Pueblo Real Estate Investor, Colleen Peterson, “They may say someone is on a mission, they’ve already moved with their husband, You send them money and they will send you the keys.” Peterson is speaking out because it happened with a rental she helps her daughter manage.

The property was listed online with a Real Estate site that verifies listings. A criminal screen grabbed the picture and created their own rental advertisement on another on-line site that does not verify information. “The screen shot they put it up on Craigslist for $590 including utilities. So People are all excited about such a great deal and unfortunately someone sent in $395 to a deposit because  their story’s convincing.” The actual rental price is $995 a month.

Peterson had to tell the would-be renter their money was gone. “We can’t make up for their fraud. It puts us in a position where we feel bad when someone is using our property to scam.” They also did not have a rental contract for a place live. Peterson says there were nearly 20 others enticed by the ad who eventually contacted her, but luckily did not lose money.

Pueblo police say any request for cash sent by check or wire with no face to face contact is a red flag warning. “They’re asking you to send cash and they’ll send they keys– It’s going to be fraud. It’s best that you look a little further into it before you do that and waste your money,” Corporal Richard Jones with Pueblo Police Department.

Jones says local police are interested in catching the people committing this crime, but circumstances typically require federal investigation. The suspects in these crimes typically operate outside of the country. It makes them hard to catch and retrieving lost money rare.