Seek other victims who may have been scammed
(Lawrenceville, Ga., August 2, 2023) – The Gwinnett Electronic and Financial Crimes Unit identified a suspect involved in three different rental scam incidents. His whereabouts are currently unknown but charges have been levied against him and detectives are asking other potential victims to come forward.
According to a press release from Gwinnett County Police Department, on April 4, the first victim reported sending $2,000 rent money for a home in Auburn, Ga and then on April 11, the second victim sent $2,199 to the same suspect expecting to rent a home in Duluth. On April 13, a third victim sent $3,900 to the same suspect expecting to rent a home in Duluth.
Detectives have been able to identify the suspect as Gregory Coley, 31, of Lawrenceville and have charged him with three counts of Theft by Deception. (Please note an arrest or charge does not constitute a conviction.)
GCPD reports that rental scams have been on the rise and the fraudulent rental listings can be in many formats. Most of the time the suspect or suspects never actually meet the victim in person and all communication is electronic.
GCPD gives the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a rental scam:
- Keep a record of all transactions.
- Find rental properties through established agents and management companies.
- Look for additional listings of the same property.
- Avoid paying in cash, peer to peer sites such as Zelle, Cashapp, and Venmo and avoid gift cards.
- Check the property tax records through the county tax office for the most current owner of the home.
- Ask for proof of ownership.
- Be cautious when listing agents provide excuses to avoid meeting in person.
Victims who have been frauded by rental scams should:
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission Consumer and file a complaint.
- File a complaint with www.IC3.gov
- File a report with the police department.
- Contact a local real estate attorney for additional assistance.
If anyone has any information to share in this case, they are asked to contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com. Crime Stoppers tipsters can receive a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case. Case Number: GP230031525