NORFOLK, Va. - Well-known realtor Judy Boone is issuing a warning after people were promised rental properties but then swindled out of money.
Shirley Hickey said she feels discouraged while trying to find a house to rent for her family in the Ocean View section of Norfolk.
She said first, they were conned out of $130 for an application fee for a home that wasn't available to rent.
Then, she said another man told them they were approved for a house, but she soon learned the home had been recently sold to someone else.
She said the man sent her an application and lease and requested money.
She said something did not seem right and when they drove by the house, they saw a Judy Boone Realty sign.
Hickey said she called Boone, who informed her that the house was not for rent.
“It really burns me up to see people being taken advantage of,” said Boone.
Boone said in the last few days, her office has received three calls of people being swindled out of money.
She said a woman in the military coming from California gave several hundred dollars.
“He is sending leases over and pretending to be a real estate agent,” said Boone.
The victims gave News 3 two phone numbers of people to whom they’d been speaking.
The man on the other end of the phone said he had two homes for rent. He hung up the phone and didn’t answer when we said who we were.
“They tried to take me like a fool,” said Hickey.
Boone said there is a high demand for rental properties and people desperate to find a place to live.
She believes criminals are taking advantage of the current real estate conditions. She said people start panicking and are anxious to find a place.
The Norfolk Police Department continues to encourage any resident who thinks they have been a victim of fraudulent activity to report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigations by using the Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3) here.