Experienced landlords work hard to qualify applicants before handing over the keys, but some fraudsters do not even need the keys to take money from a well meaning property owner.
A Chicago area landlord took an application from a couple along with a check for their deposit and first month rent. The landlord deposited the $1,250 in the bank and began paperwork to move the couple in when he received a fateful phone call.
The applicants explained that they would be moving out of town due to a job transfer, and asked to withdrawal their application and get their check refunded. The trusting landlord refunded the amount and thought little of it, until the deposit check bounced.
The couple had created a fraudulent check book that was not linked to any bank account. When the check did not clear, the bank took back their $1,250 from the landlord’s account, leaving him to pay for the fraud out of pocket.
The property owner was a victim of landlord fraud. When he told the bank, they said there was nothing more they could do to help him, but did share that he was the third landlord with the same problem that week at that bank alone. Who knows how many victims this couple targeted including other banks?
Don’t fall victim to landlord fraud like this story. Always make sure checks have cleared the bank before giving out any refunds, or require the funds to be paid with a cashier’s check or money order.
Read more at the Daily Herald.