Some cleaver scammer in Nigeria right-clicks and saves the photos, prints out the bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage, and lists the house as a rental on craigslist. The rent is too good to be true, so renters are anxious to get the home.
So anxious in fact, that they are willing to send a deposit out of the country to secure the lease. Then the scammer promises to send them a key, overnight delivery.
An article published in the Chico Enterprise Record tells a recent Chico story, but then speculates on how the renters get a key.
Willard said he found out the scammers were offering to supply whoever rented his home with a key. He had no idea how they might actually might get a key to his home, but in the past scammers falsely renting homes have figured out ways to get into Realtor lock boxes by obtaining the code online.As local Realtors, we want to reassure you that lock box codes are not available to the public online, and that there have not been any breaches locally, or even at the corporate level. In a recent letter sent to the Enterprise Record, Phil Serna, President of the Paradise Association of Realtors writes:
I contacted Peggy Mead, Ellie McGovern, and Noelle Adams, the Association Executives for the Chico, Oroville, and Paradise Association of Realtors the day this article ran and asked each of them if their respective associations have had any complaints regarding unauthorized lockbox access to any of the REALTOR member’s listings. Each Association Executive was unaware of any unauthorized access. I was told that this renter scam has been an issue in Chico for at least two years. I then contacted Al Voorheis, a representative for Sentrilock, the company that provides the computerized lockboxes for Chico, Oroville and Paradise. I spoke with him about your article and asked him if there was any way that someone involved in this type of scam could gain access to the lockbox codes. Without disclosing too much information regarding access codes, Mr. Voorheis advised that his company is unaware of anyone accessing the lockboxes that shouldn’t be. In fact he was surprised to hear this. He told me that there are many security measures in place to prevent this from happening.