PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Lawrenceville couple recently received several inquiries to buy their home, which was listed as for sale by the owner.
But they didn't list the property and it's not for sale. It is just the latest scam to bilk prospective buyers out of money.
Jillian Boldin became concerned over the weekend when people started looking into her windows, examining her house as if wanting to buy it.
"It wasn't until the next morning that I got a call from a realtor inquiring about my house being on the market for sale by owner," Boldin said. "Then I knew something was fishy."
Boldin found an ad on Zillow advertising her house as being for sale. She called her own real estate agent, Joseph Pegher.
"I said well it sounds like some sort of real estate scam," Pegher said.
Together, they determined some third party listed the property for about $100,000 less than it's worth. The listing instantly drew the attention of bargain hunters, who scammers would then try to milk for down payment money.
Boldin contacted the police.
"I'm really concerned about other people being taken advantage of," she said. "I've been living in Pittsburgh for about five years and everybody has been really friendly and welcoming to me. I would hate for someone else new to the community to get a bad first impression by being taken advantage of by some scammer."
She also contacted Zillow, which took down the ad and issued KDKA-TV this statement:
"Zillow strives to provide a safe online platform, and we go to great lengths to monitor activity and fully inform our users of the risks of scams on the internet and how to protect themselves. Our teams monitor activity on the site in several different ways, actively screening for possible scams and preventing them from getting posted, and if a listing is found to be fraudulent, it is removed from our site as quickly as possible."
"I think it's better to be overly cautious," Pegher said.
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