First off, I haven’t posted in a few weeks and for that I apologize. It was a super busy August, but no excuses.
Now down to business, I felt obligated to write on the following topic because I’ve receive two calls in the last week asking, “Is this ‘for rent’ ad a Craigslist Scam“? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is more often than not, YES.
You never want to see someone become a victim by those who prey on others decency. So for starters, this isn’t a new scam by any means; it has been around for several years. But, with the strong rental market it has become more prevalent recently.
Below is a summary of how this particular Craigslist Scam is structured.
The scammer targets those who are looking for apartments or homes to rent. The scammer finds a properties address, pictures and property descriptions from homes that are listed for sale publically on websites like zillow.com, realtor.com, etc. The scammer’s then proceed to post these pictures and information on Craigslist as property to rent under the false pretenses that they own the property.
In addition to attempting to collect as much personal information about the target as possible, they deceive the target into sending an advance of the rent money and security deposit.
The scammers are also going through a lot of work today to facilitate the deception. Creating fake email addresses using the real owners name is just one tactic the scammers are using to sell the lie.
- Listings with email contacts only.
- Owners who are not available to show the property before you send a deposit.
- Owners who tell you to ‘drive by’ to see the property.
- Owners who are ‘out of the country.’
- Owners with overseas phone numbers.
- Owners who request that you send your deposit via money transfer.
- Owners who say utilities are included with low rent.
If you are suspicious of a property on Craigslist that is also listed for sale, contact the real estate agent. They will know definitively if the property is actually for rent or if the Craigslist ad is a scam.
This being said, don’t blatantly disregard potential rental properties just because they are also listed for sale. Often times home sellers will attempt to rent out their home to try to mitigate holding costs such as taxes and insurance. So when in doubt, contact the Realtor.