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Victoria Realtor warns of rental scam

By KBell
March 12, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated March 12, 2011 at 9:13 p.m.


Realtor Kathy Hanselka says someone is impersonating her and her business in what appears to be a rental property scam.

Hanselka said Saturday that she first became concerned about the scam about a week ago, when she began receiving phone calls about a property for rent on Redwood Drive.

Hanselka said she has a listing for sale there that's currently under contract, but this person is representing it as for-rent property on rentalhouses.com

They're "asking for people to send them $400 in earnest money and then $600 in rent," Hanselka said. "I'm scared to death that somebody's going to go ahead ... and send them the money and think they're going to rent the house."

The apparent scammer said his or her e-mail address was KathyHanselka@yahoo.com, and in an e-mail to a potential renter, offered to send an application for rent.

Along with unfounded property descriptions, the e-mail was filled with spelling and grammar mistakes, which Hanselka said tipped most people off to it probably being a scam.

"I feel a responsibility because it's my name, that I should do something about this," she said. "But I don't know what to do to alert people to not respond."

Hanselka had not contacted police Saturday and said she wasn't sure what they would be able to do about the scam, whose perpetrator claims to be in London.

Hanselka said a friend who works in a law office last contacted the apparent scammer about the listing Saturday morning. By Saturday night, the listing was off the website.

"He may be doing it with different property and a different Realtor, and they may not even know it yet," Hanselka said.

She said she recommends always meeting Realtors in person to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.

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