La Quinta Woman Avoids Rental Scam
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Apr. 23, 2013
We have a warning for owners of rental property: a scam trying to rip you off when you're trying to rent to visitors to Stagecoach.
We learned about this when Barbara from La Quinta wrote us, "I listed a room for rent on Craigslist for Stagecoach. I am getting unusual emails and texts I think people are trying to give phony certified checks in order to get a week's rent in cash from my bank account."
This time of year, many people are trying to rent their homes or just rooms to people here for events like Stagecoach.
A La Quinta woman says things turned strange after she listed a room on Craigslist.
"Something wasn't right about the emails," said Barbara Bond.
Barbara Bond rented this room for both Coachella Fest weekends, and was trying again for Stagecoach.
But the responses to her ad were suspicious.
"Then I started seeing words like my financier is going to provide you the certified check."
Barbara noticed misspellings, words used in the wrong context, they were pushy and the dates didn't add up.
"They again said they wanted seven nights and if its not available, tell me when it is, and I'm going they're not coming for Stagecoach, these people are just, something is wrong."
We showed the emails to the Indio Police Department.
"You notice a couple things right away, the dates of the concerts that they were trying to make arrangements for the short term rental is incorrect," said Ben Guitron with the Indio Police Department.
Guitron also said, "They're asking more questions of the renter, personal information, then they really are inquiring about what they need to do."
Indio police say when you're renting a room, you need to ask for valid ID, just like a hotel would.
"You go up and produce your valid ID, or your passport, that you're using for your travel or your credit card, they want to validate that it is yours," said Guitron.
Barbara said, "I texted him back and said I need pictures of your driver's license, and I need a certified check or cash, and he said everything is fine, and just be patient and the money will come."
Guitron said a better option is a cashiers check, "or something they can transfer the funds into a business account hopefully that you're using instead of a personal account."
After all this, Barbara removed her rental listing and hopes others don't fall for this scam.
"Some people out here might get really taken, or their bank accounts might get cleaned out," said Barbara.
Indio police told us its important to work with a management company if you're trying to rent.
They tell us the key is knowing how to make sure people are who they say are.