San Juan County Sheriff’s Office warns of Facebook Marketplace rental property scam

The scammer claims to be renting houses which are for sale

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a case of a false rental property listing on Facebook Marketplace which scammed an area resident out of $760.
  • The incident mentioned occurred on June 21 involving a woman who lives in Farmington, who was looking for a place to rent, according to Headley.
  • The victim was told they would receive the keys shipped to them through Fedex.

FARMINGTON — Area law enforcement officials are warning prospective renters about a social media scam. Someone is posting fake rental property listings and trying to collect cash via online transfers.

At least one person has been scammed out of hundreds of dollars for a house which was actually for sale, not for rent.

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a case of a false rental property listing on Facebook Marketplace in which an area resident was scammed out of $760, according to Det. Christopher Headley.

The agency posted on its Facebook page about the incident and Headley spoke to The Daily Times about the case to help area residents protect themselves from the scam.

A person operating under the name of "John Manrow" is taking photos and information from property listings of residences for sale and making posts on Facebook Marketplace as if the properties were for rent.

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A deputy took a report on June 21 involving a Farmington resident who was looking for a place to rent.

After contacting "Manrow" regarding a property, the victim sent $760 through PayPal to the person after signing a rental agreement.

The renter did not speak to "Manrow" on the phone, with all correspondence being conducted through email or text message.

The victim was told they would receive the keys shipped to them through FedEx. When the keys didn't arrive, the victim contacted the "Manrow," and the scammer wanted another $400.

The victim became suspicious and contacted law enforcement about the incident after the request for more money.

The renter then contacted the real estate agent on the for-sale sign in front of the residence listed and learned the house is for sale and wasn’t for rent.

When Headley spoke to the real estate agent, the agent told him he’s heard of other incidents of similar real estate scams.

Headley has heard details of another victim connected to a similar scam, but that victim has not contacted law enforcement.

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For prospective renters in the area who are concerned of being scammed in a similar fashion, Headley shared some tips. Those include visiting the property listed for rent and seeing if there is a for-sale sign in the yard. He also urged people to speak directly to a person tied to the rental property.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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