Police: Man posing as real estate agent, scamming renters - FOX Carolina 21

Police: Man posing as real estate agent, scamming renters

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Alvin Aiken (Source: SCSO) Alvin Aiken (Source: SCSO)

Imagine taking a tour of a home, signing a lease, even putting down a security deposit and never receiving the keys.

The Spartanburg Police Department has received a number of reports about a possible real estate scam.

They say a man pretending to be a real estate agent is showing homes for rent and scamming the victims out of hundreds of dollars in security deposit money.

The Spartanburg Police Department warned others to be cautious.

For rent, a welcome sign for people looking to find a new home, but the Spartanburg Police warned potential renters to be aware after receiving reports of a scammer.

“They make arrangements to meet, sign a lease, exchange money, and then find out that the property they were renting is unavailable,” said Lt. Doug Harwell of the Spartanburg Police Department.

Officials say multiple victims have come forward after a man posing as a real estate agent scammed them.

“They are similar in that it is a rental scam, but we cannot say absolutely that they are connected with the same suspect,” Harwell said.

Police warned others to do their research.

“A legitimate business owner is not typically going to ask you to meet in two or three different places to sign leases and exchange money,” Harwell said.

Erica Daniels, a local real estate property manager, recommends that those looking to rent should verify the person is a licensed real estate agent, property manager or the owner of the home. When signing a lease, the document should have the Equal Opportunity Housing symbol and should explain all the tenant's rights.

“If they're pushing to get that security deposit, you got to wonder why,” Daniels said. “If it's too good to be true then it probably is.”

Police said they have signed warrants for Alvin Aiken in connection with several fraud cases in the city. Aiken is not in custody at this time. 

Police said Aiken is not a realtor, nor does he own any homes that he showed the victims. They said there are warrants for his arrest on the charges of obtaining money by false pretenses. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-CRIME-SC.  

If you're a victim or have any information, you should contact police.

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