Nationwide scam strikes local realty community

SPOKANE, Wash. - A scam crisscrossing the United States has struck again in Spokane.

Out of country scammers steal pictures, videos and information on homes for sale and then re-list them for rent. They try to get renters to send them money to hold the rental before actually seeing the home in person.

As a realtor, Bernadette Pillar's one goal is to sell your home.

"I think we decided on 235, 235 thousand on this home," said Pillar as she walked through a home for sale on the South Hill.

Nationwide scam strikes Spokane

Selling a home quickly usually entails showing a home's interior, backyard and facade to as many potential buyers as possible.

"I believe in marketing my listings to the masses. And by doing that I expose my listings to every bit of marketing. Positive marketing," said Pillar.
But some of that exposure ended up exposing her listings to scammers.

"They are putting the house, stealing the pictures, stealing all of the marketing and turning around and putting on for rent," said Pillar.

The con goes like this. Someone out of country steals pictures, videos and other info on a home for sale from the internet and lists the property for rent. That happened to one of Pillars properties. However, the seller blamed her for being caught in the scam and fired her.

"Our sellers that we work for are thinking that it's our fault and it is indeed not," said Pillar.

The scammer make money by telling potential renters to send them money to hold the property. For many eager people looking to get a deal the truth comes out too late.

"I have to admit I have suspended all my Craig's List campaigns," said Pillar.
Pillar says that's been tough because every bit helps.

"Especially, it's a buyers market as we all know. It still is a buyers market," said Pillar.
But she hopes making people aware of this scam will make others more careful.

"This house is not for rent this house is for sale," said Pillar gesturing to the home behind her.