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Real Estate Scams: Brentwood to Burbank

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Apparently a slow market does not translate to a slowdown in swindling. Scam 1 from a local real estate agency and forwarded by reader Secret Agent: "Just want to give everyone a heads-up on a scam that recently infiltrated one of our condo listings in Brentwood. Someone has taken some old listing photos and information on our (sale) listing and posted it on Craigslist as “for Lease.” It is a $769,000 listing that they have advertised for an ultra low price of $1500 a month. The man posing as the “owner” or “landlord” has even created an email address for correspondences similar to the actual owner on title. He then tries to get people to wire him money to secure this “amazing priced lease.” We have even had several agents embroiled in this mess, who were moments away from wiring this man a lot of money to secure the unforeseen Lease. About 10 people showed up to our advertised open house on Sunday to see the “Lease.” The police have been contacted and they refuse to help since “no damages have really occurred” and that it is an internet scam."

Scam #2, which comes from the mighty fine LA Real Estate blog of Phyllis Harb:"Recently a number of thefts have occurred during open houses. In all reported incidents it appears to be two innocent looking women who pose as relatives who are looking at the home.
One keeps the agent busy discussing the house in great detail while the second commits the theft..... In one case the agent's briefcase was stolen and the agent's credit cards were immediately charged. The second Glendale agent had several thousand dollars worth of the homeowner's jewelry and valuables stolen....Reports of the same occurrences are reported to have hit four houses in Pasadena and reports in Burbank. The Burbank police suggest it appears to be an organized ring committing the thefts."