Juneau police advise caution after alleged rental scam

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Juneau’s rental market is aggressive, and a few individuals have taken benefit of the scenario to rip-off people who find themselves determined for housing. 

Final week, the Juneau Police Division arrested Rebecca Jo Burke for allegedly advertising a property she was not authorized to rent. Police say Burke despatched photographs of the faux rental to a person and accepted an $850 deposit after they signed a meaningless lease. 

KTOO’s Chloe Pleznac spoke to Lt. Krag Campbell from the Juneau Police Division to find out how individuals can determine and keep away from rental scams. 

The next transcript has been flippantly edited for readability.

Chloe Pleznac: Lieutenant, thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with me. This month an arrest was made surrounding a scheme to gather rental deposits for fraudulent residence listings. Has Juneau Police Division handled different circumstances associated to rental fraud up to now yr? How frequent is that this specific crime?

Lt. Krag Campbell: You recognize, that’s the primary one which I’ve heard about. I feel it’s a fairly unusual factor, at the least for rental stuff, to the purpose the place somebody truly will get scammed out. I imply, I’m positive all people’s fairly aware of on-line scams by way of social media, promoting one thing faux. However so far as reviews to the police division the place any person’s out cash, this was the primary one I’m aware of.

Chloe Pleznac: And we all know persons are determined for housing in Juneau. I do know firsthand from my expertise shifting right here this summer season that discovering a spot to stay earlier than truly shifting right here, with the value of flights and ferries, it’s a extremely exhausting course of. So how do potential renters defend themselves from schemes like this one? Are there particular issues that they need to look out for when responding to advertisements for rental models?

Lt. Krag Campbell: You recognize, I feel the perfect wager is, if you happen to can, attempt to get suggestions from individuals you understand. However in case you are answering issues from on-line ads or on-line leases is speak with the particular person, get pictures, perform a little research so far as who’s the proprietor of the property. You recognize, if the particular person is claiming they’re the proprietor, you’ll be able to all the time search for the town’s assessor database to see are they the precise proprietor of that property. However then additionally be sure that to — one of many greatest ones is be sure that yo go there, go to the property, speak to the one that says they’re renting it, do excursions inside, even speak to neighbors. These issues are all useful simply to attempt to guarantee that sure, this particular person does have the proper to lease this property. They’ve keys, they will go inside, they will do all these issues. Nothing simply appears out of the abnormal.

Like something, if you happen to simply see a web-based advert and also you reply to it or pay cash to it, you don’t actually know the complete image. And though that is the primary rental fraud commercial I’ve handled, we do determine they get fraudulent schemes, by way of Fb and issues like that for job employment, individuals shopping for or promoting automobiles, all these issues. Only a huge unknown if you happen to’re, you’re not truly bodily talking with an individual who’s renting one thing.

Chloe Pleznac: So what can somebody do if they believe that they is perhaps a sufferer of against the law like this?

Lt. Krag Campbell: You recognize, the very very first thing is contact the police division. Tell us so we will begin wanting into it on their behalf, so we will contact the opposite particular person and attempt to get to the opposite aspect of the story and actually perform a little research to see if perhaps, who is aware of, perhaps it may very well be a authentic rental. However we will look on the opposite aspect to see if there may very well be any kind of fraud happening and to see if there’s against the law.

Chloe Pleznac: And are there another recognized scams that Juneau residents ought to be cautious of in the meanwhile?

Lt. Krag Campbell: I’ve undoubtedly seen a number of scams for purchasing or promoting automobiles on-line. Generally you get these offers, too good to be true. Somebody’s promoting a car they usually’re going to ship it from down south to Juneau at a extremely low worth. Generally these issues are simply too good of an possibility or too good to be true, like I mentioned. Jobs — individuals promoting some type of on-line job for individuals. Generally these are simply — you’ve received to do much more analysis to guarantee that they’re authentic. Clearly, a few of the greatest ones, too, are somebody eager to have you ever money checks for them, even when they declare it’s for some particular enterprise purpose. I wouldn’t belief these issues.

Chloe Pleznac: All proper. That’s Lieutenant Campbell from the Juneau Police Division. Thanks a lot on your perception and time. 

Lt. Krag Campbell: You’re welcome. Okay. Take care.

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