According to the Irvine Police Department, 29-year-old Surong Li of Irvine posed as a property manager and facilitated home lease agreements with the victims.
In some cases, the rental properties were fake, police said, while in others, she never transferred the victims' money to the property owner.
Li was arrested and booked for grand theft, possession of a fake ID, and theft by false pretense.
The police department has issued the following tips to protect yourself from a rental scam:
- Use a reputable real estate agent or broker
- Always request a tour of the property
- Ask to speak to the property owner directly
Consider a rental scam suspicious if any of the following apply:
- You are pressured to lease right away
- If you are asked to pay in cash
- When there is no credit check involved
- You are asked to send payments to individuals other than the homeowner or property manager.
Authorities said Li may have had more victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.