WEST HOLLYWOOD— Around mid to late April of 2020, Vickie Eisenstein who is a filmmaker, comedian, and actress, was scammed $2,000. Because of the pandemic, Eisenstein was forced to move apartments. As a result, she scrolled on Zillow and found a one-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood, which was listed as $1,100 per month.
The seller told Eisenstein that he could not show and give her a tour of the area due to COVID-19 regulations. In Inside Edition’s interview, Eisenstein revealed that everything, including the contract, seemed legitimate.
She was scammed by Donald L. Fernandez who is now going by David S. Milton of Milton Properties Ventures.
Fernandez asked for a deposit and rent before Eisenstein could view the apartment. Screenshots of Eisenstein’s Youtube account (Vickie Comedy), show that Fernandez wrote, “You can check for other apartments if you don’t feel comfortable making reservation and deposit. You will end up waiting in vain.”
She sent a $2,000 deposit. When she arrived, there was no key and no room. Her dream abode in unit one was already occupied.
Eisenstein is not the first to be scammed. There are rental scammers all over the world who are taking advantage and exploiting this pandemic.
According to TransUnion, a consumer credit reporting agency, there has been an increased 30% in fraud triggers.
Better Business Bureau, whose goal is to advance marketplace trust, reveals that users should be wary when on common websites such as Apartments.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, and Homes.com. Even Craigslist has potential dangers.
BBB has also informed that the most common scams are designed to: “1) Obtain up-front money by collecting a deposit or the first month’s rent. 2) Get people to buy online directories of homes supposedly for rent. 3) Trick victims into signing up for credit monitoring.”