Another rental scam reported to Park City police
January 25, 2013
The Park City Police Department earlier in January received another in a series of complaints about scams involving rental properties, this one being reported the day before the opening of the Sundance Film Festival.
Rick Ryan, a police captain, said the complaint was filed at just after noon on Jan. 16 on Shadow Ridge Road. A Los Angeles woman in her early 40s told the police her boyfriend arranged a rental through an online listing. The person the boyfriend contacted requested that money be wired to an account for the rental, Ryan said.
He said $800 was wired to an account at Woodforest National Bank in Pembroke, N.C., in late November. The woman and her boyfriend arrived at the hotel in Park City and were told the person who rented them the place doe not own a unit in the building, Ryan said. They then contacted the police.
Ryan said the police suggested the woman contact law enforcement in Pembroke, N.C., since the location of the suspected fraud occurred there rather than in Park City.
She contacted Woodforest National Bank afterward and the bank agreed to reimburse her the $800, the woman told the police.
The Police Department has fielded reports of approximately 10 similar cases since the start of the ski season. Some of the others also have involved people wiring money to accounts at Woodforest National Bank. The bank has declined to comment, citing privacy policies.
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The previous cases generally entailed between approximately $900 and $1,200, the Police Department has said. The properties the people believed they were renting have been houses and condominiums, typically in Old Town.
The police recommend travelers conduct business with people or firms that are known to be reputable. Ryan suggested someone research a rental before making the booking. He also recommended someone use a credit card instead of a wire transfer since a card holder has recourse in the event of fraud.
The Police Department in early January indicated it anticipated more cases as the ski season progressed.