Hawaii Island police are warning the public about a real estate scam that falsely lists houses for rent when they are really being offered for sale by someone else.
A South Kohala woman answered an ad posted on a website listed by a person advertising a home for rent on Kawaihae Road. The person posing as the homeowner claimed to be out of the country living in the United Kingdom and asked the victim to fill out a rental application provided online and then wire $2,258 via Western Union to cover first month’s rent, security deposit and a deposit for the house keys, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
The rental agreement and keys were to be delivered to the renter via DHL shipment. When the house keys did not arrive, the victim became suspicious and drove to the street address for the rental, where she saw a real estate company “For Sale” sign fronting the house. After contacting the real estate agent, the victim learned the home was offered for sale and not for rent by the owners, police said.
Prospective renters should not to make arrangements to rent property without confirming that the person offering the property for rent is the home’s owner or authorized rental agent, police said.