A friend called me one day and told me he thought he had been scammed. He had sent $1,500 in bitcoin as a security deposit for a house he thought he was going to rent. He wanted to know if there was any way to get the money back.

Unfortunately, he was the victim of an internet scam. I did not know of any way he could get the money back. “How did this happen,” I asked. Frustrated, my distraught friend told me the whole sad story.

He had responded to a rental advertisement on a well known social media site. The scammer promptly responded to all of my friend’s inquiries through email correspondence. The home was perfect. And, best of all, it was affordable. My friend hoped he could see it and rent it.

After quite a few friendly exchanges, the predator told my friend that he was chosen. He was instructed to send $1,500 immediately to hold the home. Happy and grateful to be given this amazing opportunity, my friend sent the funds without hesitation.

He was promised that the lease and keys would follow. But, they never came.

That was a very tough lesson. Sadly, it could have been prevented with just a little bit of coaching and insight. From my friend’s eyes, everything he saw looked legitimate. I was able to easily confirm that the photos and the description had been stolen right from the same website.

Also, a quick Google search of the perpetrator’s email address revealed several previous complaints. Because email addresses are easy to create, more digging will likely be in order. Consider calling your real estate agent or a local title company. You are welcome to call us.

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