Real estate scammers duping Kansas City residents

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KANSAS CITY -- Real estate agents say scammers are stealing legitimate listings and posting them elsewhere. It's to dupe renters into paying for homes that aren't even for rent.

These scammers are taking listings of homes for sale, then posting them on other websites as rentals. They are using local realtors names to confuse potential clients even more.

"I almost sent her the money, until I kept saying, 'Okay, something is wrong, something is wrong,'" said Vivian Dudley, who visited a listing site called Trulia looking to rent a home. She found a house she loved and called the number listed.

"She asked me to send her $850 dollars," Dudley added.

The woman who answered said she was out of town, but told Vivian to look at pictures online then send the rent money. This woman also told her she would mail her the keys so she could look in the house first, but to go ahead and send the deposit.

"When I started getting suspicious about her, I called another number that had Sharon Sigman's number on it, and she said that house is for sale, it's not for rent," said Dudley.

Sharon Sigman is not the homeowner---she is a realtor and is helping the real owners sell the home.

"I received a phone call from my office, and apparently on the same house on Everett, they had received 8 phone calls from different people hoping to rent the house," Sigman said.

Vivian Dudley called the number back on the original listing and it went to voice mail. The woman claimed to be at work.

"She said I can't call you back, but I can send an email to you," Dudley said.

Sigman says this type of thing happens often. Scammers find a real listing, take the information and pictures and post it to various sites, making it look legitimate.

"I even had realtors convinced that this house was actually rent to own or on the market. not just for sale, but to rent," Sigman added.

"Don't jump at the first thing you see," said Vivian, "Check it out, because I almost made a big mistake, and I would hate to see someone else make a big mistake like that."

Sigman says to verify who you're dealing with. She also says to never send anyone money until you see the home and have personally met with the agent.

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