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Sheriff’s department getting reports of new type of scam

Sheriff’s department getting reports of new type of scam

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YSO

YORK – The York County Sheriff’s Department has received two reports in recent days of what appears to be some type of new scamming effort, Sheriff Paul Vrbka says.

The sheriff says two attempts were made to get money from area residents who were looking for rental properties.

He explained that the first pertained to a couple from the York area who were looking to rent a house in Grand Island. The sheriff said they went on a generalized realty website, found a property they were interested in, and then entered into a chat session with someone. They got the address and drove to the property. When they arrived, the house was locked and no one was physically there.

Shortly afterward, they received a perceived lease agreement from someone. What followed was a phone call, with the caller asking them to send $800.

“What concerned them was that the person had a very foreign accent and the conversation seemed to not be on the up and up,” Sheriff Vrbka said. “Fortunately, they ended the conversation and did not send anyone any money. They reported it to us and we agreed it was likely an attempted scam.”

Then days later – it happened again, to someone else.

Sheriff Vrbka said his department was then contacted by a couple from McCool Junction who were wanting to rent a residence in York. They also went into that same type of website – not a website associated with any local realtors – and found a property they were interested in, here. They also entered into a chat session with someone. They got the address and drove to the property. When they arrived, the house was locked and no one was physically there.

Shortly afterward, they received a perceived lease agreement from someone. What followed was a phone call, with the caller asking them to send $450.

“What concerned them was that the person not only sounded like they had a very foreign accent, the man could barely speak English,” Vrbka reports.

Thankfully, they too ended the conversation and did not send anyone the $400. They instead called the sheriff’s department, which was already aware of such a situation as the York couple had contacted them quite recently.

“I saw the lease agreements they received and they looked legitimate,” Sheriff Vrbka said. “But the rest of it just didn’t add up and it appears this is obviously some new type of scam.”

He added that the name of a local realtor was referred to once by the person on the other end – “so they are probably going to try to throw out those names if that can make them look legitimate.”

His suggestion to the public is to deal with local realtors and landlords directly, with people they know and who are local and are actually involved in local realty rentals and sales.

“And don’t just send someone money, who you do not know, and if something seems off, it probably is,” the sheriff added.

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