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Beware of Online Apartment Scams

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Bangor police are warning folks about the dangers of answering online ads for apartments. A local woman almost got caught in a scam that could have cost her a lot of money.

Sergeant Paul Edwards says a woman told police that she answered an ad on Craigslist for a house for rent. She called the number in the ad and left a message, only to receive a call back from a number that appeared to be from Nigeria.

The woman said that the person on the phone kept reducing the amount of money needed as a downpayment, from first and last month’s rent, to one month’s rent, and finally to a mere $200. The woman hung up on the call without giving the person any money, and immediately called a realtor friend of hers. He told her the house was one of his listings and it’s for sale…not for rent.

Sergeant Edwards says the safest practice is to wait until you meet a landlord face to face before any money is exchanged. If you’re looking for an apartment in another town, take the time to travel there and meet with prospective landlords and tour the property for rent before putting any money down or giving out any financial information. Finally, he says, if you do come across a scam online, report it to the police.

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