POSTED: 8:53 p.m. HST, Feb 23, 2012
Hawaii Island police officials are warning the public about a rental housing scam in online classified advertisements.
An unidentified person posted an advertisement online offering a house for rent on Haili Street in Hilo for $1,000 and allowing the renter to have cats and dogs.
The thief claimed to be out of the country for several years and looking for a responsible renter to take care of the house, police said.
But the Hilo house didn't belong to the thief and was in escrow and not for rent, police said.
Police Lt. Gregory Esteban said this type of scam has cheated prospective renters out of rent money and security deposits in other jurisdictions.
"We are aware of similar scams like this on the mainland, where criminals prey on individuals looking for a reasonably-priced house," Esteban said.
"We don't want our residents to fall victim to this kind of scam."