There’s a real estate scam circulating in South Bend.
The South Bend Police Department has received several calls over the last few months regarding scammers using websites like Zillow and Craigslist to post rental properties that are not theirs. Once someone is interested in a property, they make you pay.
Scammers have requested different types of payment, including the first month’s rent, first and last month’s rent, an application fee, etc.
Police report scammers will ask you to pay with cash apps, by wiring money or through cash cards.
The Police Department has offered some tips on how to avoid these types of scams:
- Tour the property in person, including the inside, and meet the landlord.
- Look into the owner/real estate company online and make sure they actually own the property. You can find this information here.
- Pay via a paper check, not through a phone app or gift card.
- If it sounds too go to be true, it probably is.
Police also warn of potential red flags, including if…
- The property is too cheap.
- The “owner” cannot show you the inside of the property.
- The “owner” asks for money before you sign a lease.
- The “owner” does not make you sign a lease.
- The “owner” is trying to pressure you.
If you feel that you have been scammed, contact the South Bend Police Department Investigative Bureau at (574) 235-9263. You can also submit an anonymous tip to Michiana Crime Stoppers at (574) 288-STOP or 800-342-STOP.