Did you know your house is for rent?

Joyce-CA Webb

The Scam Squad received a complaint from a concerned citizen that all Green Valley residents need to be aware of.

A relative alerted her that her winter home was advertised on Craigslist as a rental property. She had not authorized or had any knowledge of this and had never listed her home as a rental. Apparently some opportunistic fraudster was able to confirm that her home was vacant and decided to use this to defraud potential vacationers as well as the owner.

If you have a cabin in the woods, a lake house, an out of state condo or a second home you must be very careful to make it secure in your absence.

While you are away from Green Valley at your summer home the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers provide a unique service. When you call for a home check while you are away a uniformed volunteer will stop the clearly marked Sheriff’s vehicle in front of your home, step out and check the garage door and all doors and windows in the front and back of your home. If there is a problem like a water leak, they will notify the person you have designated as a key holder to resolve the problem.

For other properties not in Green Valley you should notify the local police or Sheriff’s Department. Have a trusted neighbor or a relative who lives close do at least bi-weekly checks. Give them keys to the home. You may consider a timer that will turn lights on and off in certain rooms. You should stop newspaper delivery and have mail forwarded or have someone gather your mail while you are away. Warn grandchildren and other relatives not to post your absence on Facebook or other social media. Employ someone to plow driveways or now grass.

If you desire to rent a vacant home, make sure the keys are in your hand and inspect the home before you sign a rental agreement. If that is not feasible because the home is too far to visit before you rent, it is advisable to go through a reputable agency.

Scammers are constantly developing new scam techniques and trying to make them believable. Know who you are dealing with. Friends can make recommendations from their knowledge of reputable agents and their experiences. Do not be pressured!

When making purchases on eBay or Craigslist keep in mind the cautions of Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist: “Do not deal with distant buyers. Deal only with people you can meet in person. Do not wire money to distant dealers. Exchange face to face – goods for cash. Do not accept checks; even a cashier’s check or money order can be faked.”

Call the Pima County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers with information about scams and frauds. To contact the Scam Squad call 351-6744 or email: [email protected]. To report suspicious activity or a particular incident of fraud call 351-4900.