Rental scam continues to lure in victims - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

3 On Your Side

Rental scam continues to lure in victims

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Tania Niblett and her husband want to downsize. So, they recently put their home on the market.

"It actually sold in 3 days,” Niblett told 3 On Your Side. “We did some serious remodeling in here."

Needing a place live now, the couple turned to the Internet to find a house to rent. And, according to Niblett, she came across a home that seemed just right.

“Well, compared to other rentals on the market, that house is perfect. If you look at the backyard and see the pool, it's immaculate," she said.

So, Niblett called the number and the person on the other end told her to go to the home and check it out. She did, but when she arrived, there was no one at the house as promised. So, Niblett contacted the so-called property management company which told her not to worry. In fact, he said, go around the back of the house and look through the windows. And, if she liked it, he told her to call him back.

Niblett says she reluctantly followed those instructions.

"It was very uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. It felt like I was trespassing."

The home was even better than she thought. It was vacant and really clean, So, Niblett called back to say she wanted it.

That's when she was told to fill out a rental application which required all kinds of personal information like Social Security numbers and dates of birth. She was then told to deposit $1,780 in cash into the property management company's Wells Fargo bank account.

"So, I’m thinking at the time that he's associated with Wells Fargo. You know, when you think Wells Fargo, you think you trust Wells Fargo. There wouldn't be a scam going through Wells Fargo," Niblett said.

But it was a scam. And here's how it works: The scammer finds a house that is legitimately for sale and vacant just like the one Niblett looked at.

The scammer then pretends to be the owner, or property management company and posts that very house on the Internet as "For Rent.” It’s sometimes listed for an amount that's pretty attractive in order to lure in victims.

The con-man then sits back and waits for unsuspecting people like Niblett to fall in love with the house and then asks for a security deposit to be put into his personal bank account.

“So, the bottom line here is you deposited money into the bad guy's account not knowing he's really a bad guy?"

“Correct,” she replied. “And he took advantage of us absolutely."

Not only are they out $1,800, Niblett is now worried about all the personal information they provided on that fictitious rental application.

If you’re looking to rent, always meet the owner or property management company in person and get them to physically show you around the inside of the home.

If you’re asked to either wire a security deposit or asked to deposit cash into a bank account, you’re most likely caught up in a scam.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Recent 3 On Your Side storiesMore>>

  • Mesa woman and relative looking for vacation refund after serious accident

    Mesa woman and relative looking for vacation refund after serious accident

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 5:21 PM EDT2018-05-22 21:21:08 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:30 AM EDT2018-05-23 04:30:11 GMT
    Anna Bliss said she bought travel insurance and when she canceled her trip, she was expecting a full refund but hasn't gotten it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Anna Bliss said she bought travel insurance and when she canceled her trip, she was expecting a full refund but hasn't gotten it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    Anna Bliss said she bought travel insurance and when she canceled her trip, she was expecting a full refund but hasn't gotten it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Anna Bliss said she bought travel insurance and when she canceled her trip, she was expecting a full refund but hasn't gotten it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    The woman says she has travel insurance and believes she should get a full refund.

    More >>

    The woman says she has travel insurance and believes she should get a full refund.

    More >>
  • Phoenix-area woman scammed out of $2,100 in 'Pet Scam'

    Phoenix-area woman scammed out of $2,100 in 'Pet Scam'

    Monday, May 21 2018 2:24 PM EDT2018-05-21 18:24:11 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 1:03 PM EDT2018-05-22 17:03:17 GMT
    Mackenzie Umpleby went online to look for a new dog and got scammed. (Source: 3TV)Mackenzie Umpleby went online to look for a new dog and got scammed. (Source: 3TV)
    Mackenzie Umpleby went online to look for a new dog and got scammed. (Source: 3TV)Mackenzie Umpleby went online to look for a new dog and got scammed. (Source: 3TV)

    A woman thought she was buying a German shepherd puppy but ended up getting scammed.

    More >>

    A woman thought she was buying a German shepherd puppy but ended up getting scammed.

    More >>
  • Adults are now 'banking' on allowance

    Adults are now 'banking' on allowance

    Friday, May 18 2018 2:17 PM EDT2018-05-18 18:17:37 GMT
    Saturday, May 19 2018 1:20 PM EDT2018-05-19 17:20:10 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Money is no game to Brandon and Amiyrah Martin. Two of their three children get allowance, but they’re not the only ones pocketing it. The couple also sets money aside for the adults in the house. They call it their ‘fun money.’

    More >>

    Money is no game to Brandon and Amiyrah Martin. Two of their three children get allowance, but they’re not the only ones pocketing it. The couple also sets money aside for the adults in the house. They call it their ‘fun money.’

    More >>
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Tests find potential toxins in popular protein powders

    Tests find potential toxins in popular protein powders

    Monday, May 21 2018 6:30 PM EDT2018-05-21 22:30:34 GMT
    (By Sandstein via Wikimedia Commons)(By Sandstein via Wikimedia Commons)

    If you’re whipping up your morning smoothie and adding a spoon of your favorite protein powder, here’s something to think about.

    More >>

    If you’re whipping up your morning smoothie and adding a spoon of your favorite protein powder, here’s something to think about.

    More >>
  • FD: Search for missing construction worker shifts from rescue to recovery operation

    FD: Search for missing construction worker shifts from rescue to recovery operation

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 1:26 PM EDT2018-05-22 17:26:36 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 3:04 AM EDT2018-05-23 07:04:39 GMT
    The search and rescue teams are using a vacuum truck to remove dirt to get to the missing construction worker. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)The search and rescue teams are using a vacuum truck to remove dirt to get to the missing construction worker. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    The search and rescue efforts for a missing construction worker near Sky Harbor are shifting to a recovery operation, according to the Phoenix Fire Department. 

    More >>

    The search and rescue efforts for a missing construction worker near Sky Harbor are shifting to a recovery operation, according to the Phoenix Fire Department. 

    More >>
  • Phoenix kids help save mom burned in grilling accident

    Phoenix kids help save mom burned in grilling accident

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:39 AM EDT2018-05-23 04:39:19 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 1:13 AM EDT2018-05-23 05:13:25 GMT
    Alethia Nosek suffered second-degree burns after a grilling accident but it could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for her kids. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Alethia Nosek suffered second-degree burns after a grilling accident but it could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for her kids. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    Alethia Nosek suffered second-degree burns after a grilling accident but it could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for her kids. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Alethia Nosek suffered second-degree burns after a grilling accident but it could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for her kids. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Moms like to brag about their kids, but one Phoenix parent is extra proud of hers.  

    More >>

    Moms like to brag about their kids, but one Phoenix parent is extra proud of hers.  

    More >>
  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • Judge orders 30-year-old man to move out of his parents' house

    Judge orders 30-year-old man to move out of his parents' house

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 4:47 AM EDT2018-05-23 08:47:19 GMT
    A New York judge ordered Michael Rotondo to move out of his parents' house. (WSTM via CNN)A New York judge ordered Michael Rotondo to move out of his parents' house. (WSTM via CNN)

    A 30-year-old man didn't get the message that it was time to move out of his parents' home until a judge ordered him to leave.

    More >>

    A 30-year-old man didn't get the message that it was time to move out of his parents' home until a judge ordered him to leave.

    More >>
  • Queen Creek teen named Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year

    Queen Creek teen named Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 11:45 PM EDT2018-05-23 03:45:13 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 2:42 AM EDT2018-05-23 06:42:19 GMT
    Tyler Ruoff won the honor of the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. (Source: Tyler Ruoff)Tyler Ruoff won the honor of the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. (Source: Tyler Ruoff)

    Graduating in the top 5 percent of his class, he credits his parents for motivating him.

    More >>

    Graduating in the top 5 percent of his class, he credits his parents for motivating him.

    More >>
  • Win and they're in: GCU opens WAC Tournament as #1 seed

    Win and they're in: GCU opens WAC Tournament as #1 seed

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 10:26 PM EDT2018-05-23 02:26:53 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 2:23 AM EDT2018-05-23 06:23:16 GMT
    GCU Coach Andy Stankiewicz has lead the Lopes to the No. 1 seed at the WAC Tournament staring Thursday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)GCU Coach Andy Stankiewicz has lead the Lopes to the No. 1 seed at the WAC Tournament staring Thursday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    GCU Coach Andy Stankiewicz has lead the Lopes to the #1 seed at the WAC Tournament staring Thursday.GCU Coach Andy Stankiewicz has lead the Lopes to the #1 seed at the WAC Tournament staring Thursday.

    GCU had to go through a four-year probationary period with the NCAA to move up to Division I. A WAC Tournament title would mark the completion of a bold vision.

    More >>

    GCU had to go through a four-year probationary period with the NCAA to move up to Division I. A WAC Tournament title would mark the completion of a bold vision.

    More >>

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Hide bio

Contact 3 On Your Side
Powered by Frankly