South Bend Police Department warns residents of real estate scam

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The South Bend Police Department is warning residents of a real estate scam involving rental properties on Zillow and Craigslist.

The scammers post rental properties that are not theirs and once someone expresses interest in a property, they make them pay. Sometimes it’s first and last month’s rent, first month’s rent, an application fee or a background check and first and last month’s rent.

They also ask that those interested pay via cash apps, cash cards or wiring money.

The South Bend Police Department says that red flags include the property being too good to be true or if it is too cheap for the area and size, no photos or tours of the inside, asking for money before a lease is signed, no lease is signed and being pressured into the deal.

The South Bend Police Department advises you to always tour the property in person and to make sure you see the inside as well as meeting the landlord, as well as paying via paper check and not an online or phone app or gift card.

Prospective renters can also look into the owner or real estate company online. To do this click this link to the St. Joseph County Assessment Neighborhood Map.

If you have been scammed or have any information about a scam, you are encouraged to contact the South Bend Police Department Investigative Bureau at 574-235-9263. You can also submit anonymous tips to Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP or 800-342-STOP.

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