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MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County District Attorney’s Office is alerting Monterey County residents and visitors that an increase in scams have affected renters and properties for rent.

The scams vary in sophistication but share the same core fraud: the suspect will pose as the property owner or leasing company, and then collect the usual first/last/deposit. The victim suffers the double blow of losing a housing opportunity and losing thousands of dollars.

Often this scam involves the suspect posting a house for rent on social media or real estate rental websites based on a legitimate listing posted previously. To make it seem more real, the suspect can even send out an application, lease agreement and request a processing fee for a credit check.

“Scammers will often work off of legitimate listings, so take extra steps to protect yourself,” according to the DA’s Office in a news release Jan. 5. “For example, when you visit the rental location, try to make contact with the current residents, see if the landlord left a physical rental sign with a phone number to call, or look up the location yourself and call the owner/leasing office to verify they have placed an apartment/house up for rent.”

The majority of scammers are not local and will make excuses for why they cannot show renters the property in person. 

“Be extra vigilant of deals that are ‘too good to be true,’” stated the DA’s Office.

Perpetrators of these scams are likely subject to criminal prosecution for at least felony theft.

Monterey County District Attorney’s Office stated that it will be “vigilant about investigating and prosecuting these cases.”

Anyone who has been the victim of a real estate scam, or who has information regarding a potential fraud, should file a complaint with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit by completing the consumer complaint form located on the Monterey County District Attorney’s website ( and emailing it to [email protected], mailing it to the DA’s Office at 1200 Aguajito Road, Suite 301, Monterey, CA 93940, or by calling the DA’s Office at 831-647-7770.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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