Fake tenant and landlord scams now use Zelle’s quick payment program to get money from victims

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IRWINE, Calif. – Esther Jung was trying to sublet her next-door apartment at UC Irvine when she heard from a potential tenant.

“She sent me her ID, which approved some form of trust,” Jung said.

Ralph Hunt of Bakersfield was trying to rent an apartment in Utah.

“I started looking for Craigslist,” Hunt told our home station in San Francisco, KGO-TV, “and found a list of what they called a basement.”

Both Jung and Hunt were taken and used. Jung’s fake tenant even built a relationship.

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“She told me about herself. She asked me to tell her about myself, ”Jung said. – It seemed more interesting to her to look at the apartment.

The “tenant” sent Jung a check, and soon after asked to return the money. Jung checked, and seems to have cleared the bank.

“So I returned the money to her, and it turned out that the check was a scam,” she says. “In total, I lost $ 2,905, which is a lot for a college student.”

The swindler who set up Hunt sent all sorts of documents: applications, leases – it looked so legal.

“Yeah, I paid a total of $ 1,100,” Hunt says.

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And then the fake owner just disappeared.

“I’ve heard so many bad stories that people have been deceived,” Hunt said, “but I thought my bank was offering Zelle … FDIC insurance will cover everything wrong.”

But his bank did not return the money to him, and Jung’s bank did not return it either.

Both Hunt and Jung want you to know that once you send money from the Potion, it is very difficult to return it.

KGO-TV is appealing to both banks and will have an update when they receive a refund, but according to reporter Michael Feeney, the refund at best was disparate.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

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