Crime - Sacto 911

Looking for a place to live? Roseville police warn of rental listing scams

The Roseville Police Department is warning of a real estate scam targeting prospective renters.

A Roseville resident reported that a woman came to her door Wednesday afternoon wanting to check out the rental she saw on an online real estate classified ad, according to a Police Department Facebook post. The resident was surprised because her home wasn’t for rent.

Police said the prospective renter was the victim of a phony real estate ad. In this case, the woman had already paid the scammers an “application fee” for a nonexistent rental.

Police advise anyone looking for a new home or vacation rental to verify ads, noting that scammers sometimes “hijack” a legitimate ad, copying the photos and information about the listing but substituting a a different name and contact information. In other instances, scammers advertise a nonexistent property, or a real property that isn’t for sale or rent.

Signs of a potential scam include someone who asks for an application fee, first month’s rent or a deposit before the prospective renter has met them or seen the property. A request for money in the form of a wire transfer or gift cards is a sure sign of a scam, and police advise having no further contact with the individual.

People who have lost money in a real estate scam in Roseville can call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 916-774-5000, ext. 1. Anyone who spots a fraudulent classified ad is advised to flag it and report it to the classified ad site.

More information about rental listing scams is available from the Federal Trade Commission at

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy