HAZLETON, Pa. -- The Hazleton City Police received numerous complaints from individuals and realtors regarding a SCAM through the use of the "CRAIGS LIST" Internet Site.
The SCAM is devised to defraud individuals of money by falsely receiving money for the rental of homes listed for sale or rent in the Hazleton area.
The individuals responsible for this crime are posting advertisements on various websites for the rental of area homes that are vacant and listed for sale or rent.
The illegal business transactions are mostly taking place via the Internet through the use of email or text messages where the properties are listed and shown to the prospective renter.
The people involved are directing the prospective renters to the properties and then collecting the funds (Money) by having them send it to various bank accounts or through Western Union.
These illegal actions are being conducted without either party meeting each other in person and in some cases people are receiving rental leases via the Internet and moving into locations only to find out they have been defrauded.
One victim wired $1400 dollars, received a lease over the Internet only to learn that they were defrauded and lost their money.
Statements from Chief of Police Jerry Speziale:
"This is an active criminal investigation we will vigorously pursue that appears to have International connections."
"In order to ensure a legal rental, the public should deal directly with a local realtor or private owner of a property who can prove they have the authority to rent such a location"