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Rental Scams
September 22nd, 2015 1:43 PM

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Be aware, be alert and as the saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it isn't!"  Craigslist can be a legitimate venue to bring together buyers, sellers and renters.  But some con artists are posting some deals that ask for deposits or even personal information like credit history and Social Security numbers, which can be used for identity theft.

A few years ago, I personally battled an online scam where someone claiming to be me, a real estate agent, copied all my photos and property information on a rental home from my real estate website, posted them on Craigslist and began taking email offers to rent the house.  If it had not been for a wise potential tenant, who researched my realtor information and phoned me with questions, I would not have been aware of this scam.  I promptly reported it to Craigslist and to the local police department, but I was told it is virtually impossible to catch the scammers, who usually reside in another country.  Craigslist will remove the ads, but the scammers can then post yet another one using cut-and-paste photos from other property listings.

Some scammers take a rental or real estate listing by changing the email address or other contact information, and placing the modified ad on another site.  Others make up listings for places that aren't for rent or don't exist, and try to lure the renter in with the promise of low rent or great amenities.  Versions of this Craigslist scam have been reported again recently in Florida, and they target single-family homes, apartment complexes and even beachfront vacation spots.

Craigslist does warn consumers specifically about real estate transactions.  They state not to rent or purchase property "sight unseen" and caution against extending payment to anyone not met in person.  So if that deal sounds "too good to be true" it most likely is!  Always research the person offering the property and see if it appears on a real estate website.  Working with a real estate professional is the very BEST way to find a home to purchase or rent.  Buyers AND renters . . . .  BEWARE!

Please note:  there will be no blog next week.  Barbie will be at the beach!

Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on September 22nd, 2015 1:43 PMPost a Comment

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