Suncoast resident victim of rental scam

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SARASOTA, FL--- If you visit Sarasota homeowner Suzanne Trembley, you will see a big orange sign on her front door that's says "This property is not for rent. It was a scam."  The sign is warning visitors of one of the latest rental scams that is bewildering property owners and their realtors.

"They want money.  They want the first month, last month, deposit," said Trembley.

Trembley is in the process of selling her home but she says without her permission someone placed an ad to rent the property on several popular real estate websites. 

"I saw my house and all the beautifully pictures my relator took and along side the pictures was how to make contact with the people who are obviously scamming," Trembley added.

But, the for rent ads where just part of her worries.

"People were coming to the door.  Somebody came on the lanai because the letter obviously encourages people to walk around and take a look at the house," said Trembley.

At the time she was unaware of the ads. It wasn't until her relator contacted by someone wanting to rent the home, did the pieces begin to fall in place. 

"They positioned themselves as the owner of the property," said Suzanne's relator Susan Kirk.  "They got a lot of the information off of the website so they've got access to the description of the home, access to the photos and things like that.  And I guess through public record they got more information and yet they were able to find her name and some other personal information," added Kirk.

But, scams like this one aren't new, Steve McDowell with the Sarasota Police Department says residents should be on alert for this and other scams.

"Know who you're giving your money to, know where your purchasing this item from and if its real estate you have to do your due diligence," added McDowell.

Advice Tremley now agrees with. "There's a lot of scams out there and you have to be as tenacious as the scammers."

Officials say to make sure you're not the next victim its important to verify ads before you send money to anyone.  As well as using caution when asked to provide personal information via phone, email, or mail.