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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

Landlord scam: Fraud unit cracks down on foreclosure

Freddie Mac's fraud unit has teamed up with about 2,300 real estate professionals to crack down on scam artists posing as landlords who advertise foreclosed homes as rentals.

Freddie Mac is asking for real estate professionals' help in spotting the fraudulent rental ads.

These scammers dupe unsuspecting renters by offering up properties they claim are for rent -- which are often bank-owned and which they have no stake in. Then, these scammers often request personal credit information from the would-be renters and at least two months of rent up front for the lease.

Some fake landlords are able to get the locks changed on the properties, allowing these would-be renters to move into the property, only later to face an eviction by the true property owners.

The fraud unit is cautioning would-be renters to be careful when they rent a property that they don't get duped. For example, they're encouraging would-be renters to check with their county recorder on who truly owns a property, conduct a search to see if the property is for sale, and contact a listing agent if a "for sale" sign is ever posted on a property they are trying to rent.

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