The department posted a public awareness notice on the police department’s Facebook page.
It says: “Please be advised that the Norwich Police Department is currently investigating a “house for rent” scam. The phone number and email address from the suspect are fictitious. The ad was originally posted on Craigslist as a house for rent. The fake owner is trying to get perspective renters to send them money to an out of state address and promises to FedEx the keys.”
Police found out about it because the real owner of the house got a surprise one afternoon.
“He was doing some manicure work on the yard and someone had approached him and said, ‘Hey I’m here to rent the house, here’s my money, I need the keys,’ and the homeowner was like, ‘No, it’s for sale, it’s not for rent,'” explained Lt. John Perry of the Norwich Police Department.
“Send money out of state and all that stuff.” said Zachary Deojay of Norwich. “Yeah, that’s not something I would fall for.”
“You never want to rent or buy something unseen,” said Lt. Perry.
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Jay Charboneau of Norwich says people even get scammed in person.
“I mean, it looks real when you see him and you meet him in person, you sign all these papers then you give him the money. You’re supposed to move in on the first and the next thing you know it was all fake. Everything,” said Charboneau.
Police are also investigating a second similar scam in Norwich. That predator is in state and did have an apartment, but it was unrentable.
“They were about to move in until they saw the conditions of it and then they said, ‘No, I can’t live in this.’ [They] tried to get their money back,” said Lt. Perry.
But it was too late. The predator had already taken the money and ran.
“They are taking advantage of people and that’s sad, especially the elderly,” said Donna Charboneau of Uncasville.
Just as landlords check out their potential tenants, tenants can check out their potential landlords.
Police say you can do searches for criminal history or any news stories about them. You can also check with police and building officials.
“People work hard for their money,” said Lt. Perry who wants to make sure they don’t lose it to a scam.