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Summer Renters Scammed At The Jersey Shore

By Robin Rieger

A home on Travers Place in Brigantine sounds like a nice to place to rent, according to a copy of the Craigslist ad that offered the three bedroom single family home for $800 a month.

The problem is the home is only listed for sale by a local realtor. Brigantine police say scammers are using the home's picture and Craigslist to get money from unsuspecting potential renters.

"They are taking a picture of the house from the MLS (multiple listing service) website
...and they dummy up an ad, it's that simple," said Lieutenant Jim Bennett.

When someone looking to rent responds to the ad, police say the scammer explains by email why the home is available.

"I'm a missionary and I've recently been transferred to Western Africa. Mail or FedEx us your money," Bennett said.

A local couple sent about $1200 dollars to someone advertising this home for rent for $800 a month on Craigslist, but never heard back from the so-called landlord. At the time, the home was listed for sale with Coldwell Banker At The Shore.

"They went to the home and noticed we had a sign, so they reached out to the agent to find out what was going on, and the agent was unaware of anything," said agent Colleen Bell.

Police say the couple's money is almost impossible to retrieve from the scammers.

"They're most likely not here in country," said Bennett.

With the summer rental season in full swing, it's renter beware.

"Always use a licensed real estate agent," said Bell

Or meet the home owner at the house for a tour.

"Don't FedEx money, don't send money to anybody, especially out of the country," warned Bennett.

Craigslist offers the same warning and has been removing the ads as they are notified by police.

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