The Mountain Times

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Rental property internet fraud

KILLINGTON - The Vermont State Police took two separate reports of internet fraud for a rental property in Killington on Dec. 30. Both victims, Caitlin Malbeouf, age 25, of Boston and Maura McSharry, age 28, of Duxbury, MA, found a rental property in Killington on Craigslist.

Malbeouf and McSharry contacted the alleged owners by e-mail and phone. Malbeouf paid $550 for a rental house on Alpine Drive and McSharry paid $920, also for a rental house on Alpine Drive. On December 30, both victim's arrived at the alleged rental location on Alpine Drive, only to find out that they had both rented the same location.

It was discovered that this location had been rented to them fraudulently and the alleged owners were not actually the property owners.

At this time this case is still under investigation by the Vermont State Police. This type of fraud has recently increased at tourist areas in Vermont.

The Vermont State Police recommend the following tips to help protect yourself from internet fraud:

•    Understand as much as possible about how the transaction, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller's obligations are before you send money.

•    Find out what your options are if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction.
•    Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address.

•    Examine the feedback on the seller.

•    Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.

•    If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.

•    Be cautious when dealing with sellers outside the United States. If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult to rectify.

For more information about protecting yourself online, check out the federal government's website OnGuard OnLine: If you believe you are the victim of internet fraud, please contact the Vermont State Police or your local law enforcement agency.

Tagged: Rental fraud, killington, Alpine drive rental