LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- If a major sporting event is heading to a city near you, beware of businesses promising big money for no risk and no work. In this Rip-Off Alert, you have to check out a company very closely to know if it's trustworthy.
Big events mean big business for cities. They also can be a magnet for scammers.
"They faxed me this contract,” said fraud victim Willie Pinkton. “I filled it out, signed it, and sent it back to them."
Pinkton signed a contract with Super Week Lodging hoping to rent out his home during the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
"They assured me my house would be rented out before the Super Bowl and it was going to be a minimum of a three-day stay and make a minimum of $850 per day," Pinkton said.
To get his home listed, the company told Pinkton that he would need to send money up front.
"I would need to send them a check or money order for $875," Pinkton said.
So, he did. And what did he get in return? Nothing. In fact, he lost the money he gave them.
Homeowners were told if the home wasn't rented or they wanted to cancel, they could get their money back. Again, not true.
"After the event I tried to call him back several times. I didn't get any answers," Pinkton said.
Postal inspectors say this scam has been growing in the past five years, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
"Be wary of investment opportunities that are high reward but very low risk," said U.S. Postal Inspector Keith Moore.
Consumers need to do their research. One way is to contact the local Better Business Bureau and ask how long the company has been doing business. But sometimes these con-artists try to cover their tracks.
"The suspects generally change the website name and the company name every year after a big event," Moore said.
The Indiana attorney general filed lawsuits against Super Week Lodging and another home rental company for their role in this case and others like it. The suit is seeking full refunds for customers, civil penalties and attorney fees.