More fall victim to Craigslist rental scam in Valley

Posted: Updated:
Second family duped by Craigslist rental listing
azfamily.com

PEORIA - The following is a press release from the Peoria Police Department:

On July 26, 2008 a house in the 10600 Block of West Sands Drive was fraudulently rented over Craig's List by a male and a female calling themselves "Jamie Williams" and "Jim Williams". The victims searched "Craig's List' for rental properties/rental homes and located a home in Peoria and met the suspects at the home. The suspects made a demand for a cash only deposit and arranged to meet them at a parking lot for the cash exchange. The victims were never provided with keys to the house, told by the suspects to change the locks and it will be taken off the rent. When the real owners of the home showed up to check on their property it was discovered the home had been unlawfully rented. The victims had already done a lot of work on improving the home and the property owners decided to let them stay in the house for the month of August at no charge.

After the first incident was covered by a TV news station last Monday and Tuesday another victim came forward. On June 24, 2008 in the 18300 Block of North 90 Lane in Peoria, a home was rented over Craig's List by a male and female calling themselves "Jamie Knight and Jason Sullivan". The descriptions are the same as in the Sands Drive case except variations on the name.

The victims had searched Craig's list for rental properties/rental homes. They located a home in Peoria and met the suspects at the home. The suspects wanted a cash deposit and arranged to meet them at a parking lot for the cash exchange. The victims did respond to an office located in Phoenix on 24th Street and found it no longer exists and the suspects used the company name "Z 3 Properties Group".

In both cases the suspect had the victims complete a rental agreement and gave them receipts.

If anyone has information on these two cases or may have information on the suspects please call the Peoria Police Department at 923-773-7061 or the Peoria Police Tip Line at 623-773-7045.

Some Danger Signs for renters to watch for:

- On Craig's List the property ad states "I'll fix your credit"

- All money exchanges done in parking lots

- Heavy Push for "cash only" transactions, but will take cashier's checks and money orders

- Suspects cannot provide much detail on inside of home or home layout

- Suspects may not have a key to house or only combination to lock box

- If uncertain check the property through the Maricopa County Assessor's Office and see who the owner is to verify information

Property Owners:

It is suggested that home owners or property managers that have properties listed for rent on the web check their properties frequently to make sure they have not been fraudulently rented. In both of the cases above the homes were listed on sites advertising homes for rent.

Many legitimate property managers use Craig's List to advertise rental properties as it is very successful so just because a home is listed on Craig's List does not mean it's fraudulent, just do some checking on the property first before handing over cash.