Chicago Apartments

Fake Online Apartment Listing Leaves Chicago Resident Out $350, His Personal Information

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Chicago man thought he was getting a great deal on a big apartment in the city, but now he’s out $350 and fears that his personal information may have ended up in the wrong hands.

Jeremy Vasquez says that the deal seemed to be too good to pass up. He found a listing for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the city’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood, renting for $1,550 per month.

“There was this great den area, and it said everything was up to date,” he said.

Vasquez said that with the rental market as hot as it is at the moment, he was eager to act fast.

“I called the number that was on the website and got ahold of them right away,” he said.

He said that he completed his application, submitting a $50 fee, and used the CashApp to send in a $300 deposit.

“There was really no reason for me to feel that this was not real,” he said.

Everything was going swimmingly, until he showed up at the building to meet the rental agent to finalize the agreement.

“I showed up at 5 p.m. and no one was there. I called the realty company on the application and they said ‘this is not one of our properties,’” he said. “’We don’t know who this person is.’”

Vasquez suddenly found himself out $350, and more importantly, out all of his personal information.

“I filed a police report, and I froze my credit,” he said.

Emila Crespo, who owns RCI Realty, says that this type of situation is part of a growing trend of fraudulent listings.

“They use different names saying that they are this company or that brokerage, presenting themselves as licensed realtors,” she said.

Crespo said there are several red flags that renters should watch out for, including:

-Below-market rental prices

-Requests to wire money

-An inability or unwillingness on the part of a relator or broker to meet in person

“I encourage people to take time and effort to make sure that what they’re applying for is legitimate,” she said. “Don’t be in a rush.”

As for Vasquez, he eventually did find an apartment, and he learned his lesson to boot, using a licensed relator and asking dozens of questions in the process.

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