Investigation underway after woman’s vacation rental turns out to be a construction site

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Matthew Seaver

Imagine renting a property for your vacation just to discover it’s actually a construction site. That’s apparently what happened to one woman in Naples, and now an investigation is underway.

The woman paid for a rental, then her radar went off, and she suspected something wasn’t right. She took matters into her own hands and then called the Naples police.

“My overall reaction to people that are scamming other people should be arrested and put in jail,” said Joseph Angi, condo association administrator for the Naples Continental Club.

On December 4, Naples police said a would-be renter started a conversation about a vacation rental on Facebook messenger. They came to an agreement; then, the victim sent money through Zelle.

When the contract arrived, the victim said it didn’t look right. She visited the property in person only to find homes under construction.

“It is unreal what is happening right now. A lot of scammers take advantage of the fact that the homeowners are not here and are probably in a different country or different state,” said Dirk Fischer, a broker for 5th Homes.

Fischer said people are getting ripped off left and right.

Fischer said another swindle going around is people selling vacant lots to people looking to move here.

“If you have a real estate agent, a local real estate agent here that you can relate to and you can build a connection with, then that is your go-to source in order to verify everything you were doing down here. It is very difficult for people who are out of state or even out of the country to verify anything, no matter if it’s a rental or a purchase,” said Fischer

Fischer said in one case, a fake seller sold a vacant lot to someone and made $1.7 million.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.