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Daily Staff Report
WINCHESTER -- Authorities are warning prospective real estate renters of a new scam reported in the area.
Police suspect people perpetrating the scheme fraudulently post rental property on craigslist.com, sometimes with photographs taken of the site or stolen from a real estate owner's website, according to Sgt. Frank Myrtle, of the Winchester Police Department.
The victim calls the contact number included with the listing and the person who answers identifies themselves as the property owner. The person then tells the caller to go look at the property and, if he or she likes it, send a check for the first month.
The person posing as the property owner says he or she is on vacation out of the country but tells the caller to send the check to an address at the overseas location, according to Myrtle. The person tells the caller he or she will call back to make arrangements.
"We just want to remind citizens if they are going to rent a house that they need to physically meet with the real estate agent or in person," Myrtle said. "We strongly encourage that it is not a good idea to send any money overseas."
The police department has received a few complaints in recent weeks but no reported victims of the growing scam, according to Myrtle.