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Police issue home rental scam warning in Middle Tennessee

home rental scam fraud alert
Posted at 10:06 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 23:47:22-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — While Nashville is in the middle of a red-hot housing and rental market, unfortunately, police said it's prompting some scammers to take advantage.

The Murfreesboro Police Department wants renters to be aware of a home rental scam making the rounds.

A recent TSU grad, Zhuri Winfree-Givens, says back in May she found what no one wants to find on her front door: a legal notice reading "notice of unauthorized occupancy."

She was locked out of what she thought was her own rented home.

But Murfreesboro police say she was a victim of a scam.

The legal notice was legit, but the person she dealt with to rent the home was not, leaving her now forced to leave.

She said she found the home on a legit website, and when she expressed interest in renting it, someone said that they worked with American Homes for Rent got in contact with her.

Winfree-Givens said the person made up a real-looking lease with the company logo and even gave her the code to get into the home.

The person asked for the first month's rent, a security deposit and other fees through CashApp — something Winfree-Givens now realizes was a red flag.

Also, Winfree-Givens said the scammer was overly persistent, frequently calling and texting her for more payments.

In the end, the scammer got Zhuri for nearly $5,000.

Winfree-Givens has a message for the scammer that got her:

"Just know that karma's a real thing, I hope it was worth it in their eyes, but this was a horrible feeling," Winfree-Givens said.