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Careful on Craig's
August 10th, 2011 10:42 AM

Over the past few months, we realtors have been notified by the Multiple Listing Service to carefully monitor our properties, especially rental listings, to make sure they are not improperly listed on Craig's List website.  There has been a lot of fraudulent activity on this website concerning rental homes and I, personally, have been a victim of this.

A scammer manages to obtain listing information and photos for a particular property from some website and then turns around and lists that property as his own on Craig's List.   As in my case, he may even use the name of a realtor who he found was associated with that listing.  Someone from out of state sees the rental listing, e-mails the scammer, decides to rent the property and sends the scammer a check for the deposit.

The new "renter" shows up to the property he thought he was renting and finds the property is not even available, has no access to the home,  and there is a family already living there.  Meanwhile the scammer disappears and finds more people to scam.

We hear of "Buyer Beware" but these days with more people renting than ever before, potential tenants must "Remain Vigilant."  The very best way to find a rental home is to go through a realtor.   You can begin a search on www.Realtor.com and know that the listing is valid, because anything listed on that sight is by a licensed real estate professional.  If you do come across a rental listing on another sight, get the name of the person advertising that rental and "google" them to see if they do come up with a real estate or property management company.  Do a "background check" on them!  Send them an e-mail or phone to make sure everything checks out.   And never send a deposit up front for any property before having provided an application and signing a Florida Rental Lease Agreement.  These documents are legal and binding and meant to protect all parties involved in the transaction. 

With the state of our economy, scams will continue to get worse.  But we can avoid becoming victims by using common sense and careful screening.   If it seems "too good to be true" chances are IT IS!


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Posted by Barbara Doeringer on August 10th, 2011 10:42 AMPost a Comment

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