Realtor: Rental listing photos being used for fake listings

Realtor: Rental listing photos being used for fake listings

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico realtor claims someone is stealing her rental listing photos and posting them online to scam you out of your money!

The realtor, who wished to remain anonymous, said it’s happened several times recently, but thankfully those interested renters called her before handing over any money to the alleged scammer.

According to the Richmond Association of Realtors, these type of scams come in waves and are prevalent during the heavy buying season.

“Most of these scam listings, you're not finding them on home search sites or legitimate property rental sites,” said CEO Laura Lafayette with the Richmond Association of Realtors. “You're finding them on other sites where rental property, or property for sale is not their bread or butter business. It's just another posting."

In this case the Henrico realtor said her listing photos were popping up on Craigslist and even Facebook Marketplace; advertising a rent of half the cost of what it actually is.

“When something looks too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true,” Lafayette said.

In an effort to curb those photos from being stolen Lafayette added some realtors are taking those photos and putting watermarks on them to make sure the legitimacy is known to buyers and renters.

“I highly recommend that people put watermarks on their photos and recognize it really doesn’t impede the ability of the end user to see the house or the rental unit,” Lafayette said.

While these scammers continue to scour the internet for available listings the Richmond Association for Realtors urges buyers and renters to take a proactive approach when searching for a new home.

“If you’re looking for a home, engage professionals to help you in that search,” Lafayette said. “As fast as we are working to protect the data there are nefarious people working around whatever we have in place."

If you do come across a fake listing you’re urged to report it to the website it’s been posted on. In most cases, Lafayette said those websites will remove the listing.

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