Housing crisis

Rental scam circulating in Fountain during the housing crisis

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KRDO) – While renting remains more affordable than buying a home right now, a Fountain-area con artist is taking advantage of people looking to find housing.

Fountain Police are warning residents that someone is impersonating a landlord/real estate agent and is trying to scam people out of money.

According to police, the scammer uses social media sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to advertise available rental properties. He then requests rental agreement payments, a non-refundable deposit, and rent paid through a Zelle account with an associated email from tjbarker2012@gmail.com.

These properties are not actually available for rental.

One of the victims of the scam initially contacted a woman claiming to be Savannah Lynne Nienaber.

The identity the suspect recently used is Alexander Pawlicki.

Police say he even provides a photocopy, via text message, of an Illinois driver’s license for one Alexander Pawlicki.

This scam couldn’t come at a more desperate time for renters.

Realtor.com’s latest data from June shows that renting a home is still more affordable than buying a home, although rent also hit a national record high at around $1,876. .

But that expensive rent is still 30% less than the typical monthly cost of a new property.

Fountain Police say to always check the rental property you are looking at and the associated real estate company before providing money through social media or other apps.

If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, contact the Fountain Police Dispatch Center at (719) 390-5555 to speak to an officer or deputy.