BROOKINGS – Brookings Police are warning people to be aware of rental scams after receiving a report of one.

The scam was reported around noon Wednesday, Assistant Police Chief Joe Fishbaugher said.

“Anything online, you gotta be very cautious,” he said.

Scammers will visit sites with residential listings for rent or sale, and “they’ll take pictures off the Realtor website and put them on Craigslist” advertising the house for rent with their contact information, Fishbaugher said. 

An unsuspecting victim will contact them about the property.

“They’ll email each other contracts, sign it, and then (the scammer will) say, ‘I need a $1,000 deposit.’ Then they’ll mail it to them and never hear from them again,” Fishbaugher said.

He advised people to do research, since scammers set up their websites to look real, even going so far as to come up with names that are similar to an actual real estate company.

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