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Broker discovers rental fraud scheme

<i>WSMV</i><br/>Scott Coggins discovers a rental fraud scheme.
Scott Coggins discovers a rental fraud scheme.

By Rebecca Cardenas

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — A Nashville broker caught a rent fraud scam in the nick of time.

The Nashville Luxury Team’s condo listing in 12 South had already been sold when Nashville broker Scott Coggins got an inquiry about leasing it. He told the caller no, it was only ever for sale.

“The next day, the same gentleman calls me back as asks me, ‘Hey, do you know if the new owner is going to be renting it?’” Coggins said. “I said, ‘No, what are you talking about?’ He said, ‘There’s an ad on Craigslist.’”

Coggins found a scam artist copied and pasted the listing description on Craigslist, used the Nashville Luxury Team’s photos of property, and advertised the listing for $900 a month.

“Red flag goes off because you can’t rent anything for 900 bucks right across from Belmont in the 12 South area,” Coggins said.

The next red flag, he said, was the application.

Written on a Word document, it asked for a long list of person information, including the applicant’s social security number.

“It’s not things that you would normally be asked if you’re going to lease something,” Coggins said.

Coggins reported the bogus listing, and Craigslist took it down right away. He recommends anyone looking for housing should always take steps to verify a listing before giving information away.

“Contact a Realtor, someone that’s licensed that knows the area,” Coggins said. “Not only that, but if you do run across a listing on Craigslist, or wherever, take that address and cut and paste it and Google search it. See if it actually is for lease, because nine times out of 10, if it’s legitimate, it’ll be on another agent’s website.”

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