Phoenix woman says she was almost duped in a rental scam

PHOENIX - A Phoenix woman hopes her story of an almost-rental-gone-wrong will help other people avoid similar scams in the future.

Melissa Smith was in the market for a rental home when she decided to check Facebook Marketplace.

She found a four-bedroom home in Gilbert that she loved and immediately noticed the seemingly low price.

"I thought it was too good to be true," Smith said. "It was $800 — utilities included."

Smith did some more research and found the Facebook user she was communicating with about the rental, and the true homeowner, didn't quite add up.

"I went on to a website to look up the owner of the house and they are not the real owner, they didn't live there," she said.

Shivani Dallas, an associate broker with Keller Williams Integrity, sees scammers in real estate all the time.

Dallas said if a renter doesn't request online payment, a background check and the price seems too good to be true, run the other way.

"Chasing rentals in Gilbert, Chandler, cities in demand for under $1,500, it is so tough to find," Dallas said. "So when somebody lures you in with small dollars be very careful with that."

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