Tampa, Florida -- The Bay area has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the county and as a result squatters are popping up all around.
With thousands of foreclosed homes in the Bay area, it's attracting some unwanted visitors in many parts of the city; something Tampa police officers have caught on to.
"A lot of things we do is go out and look at abandoned properties," says Corporal Lisa Parashis.
Tampa Police are kept busy out on the streets, making sure unwanted guests stay out of your neighborhood. Corporal Parashis recently came upon what seemed to be a normal home with two women living there.
The problem is, it wasn't their home to begin with.
"They had electricity on and everything," says Parashis.
Corporal Parashis says this is happening on a daily basis.
Vril Escudero, a resident of Seminole Heights, says he has also noticed people quietly moving into homes that they do now own.
"It's very shocking, yes, and they were younger kids," says Escudero.
Tampa Police says if you notice someone moving into a home that you don't think they own, give them a call. Because, with foreclosed homes, it could take some time to kick the unwanted neighbor out.
"It can get very difficult because in the foreclosure process, it's hard to find who is the owner," says Corporal Parashis.
Police say they are also seeing a similar problem with Craigslist scams. Someone will post pictures of a foreclosed home on the site and say it's for rent. They will then rent it out to an unsuspecting victim, collect the first months rent and flee, leaving the victim living in a home in which they have never met the actual owner.
Police say always make sure there is a lease when renting a home and if not, check the property appraiser website to see who really owns the home.
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