Beware of Craig’s List Rental Scam!

Posted on Saturday, March 13th, 2010   |   Filed under Local News & Happenings

Several years ago, I started getting strange calls and emails – and became aware of a HUGE scam.  These calls & emails were from prospective renters looking for year-round rentals in my town, and had found a home advertised on Craig’s List.  However, the rental just seemed too good to be true, and the prospective renter was wise enough to try and check it out first. It always involved unusually low rent for the area, with the supposed property owner being away in Africa doing missionary work and just needing someone to “take good care of the house” for her while she was away.  These renters happened to discover that the properties in question were also listed ‘for sale’  – and they tracked me down as the listing broker to confirm that the rental was legit. Of course it wasn’t, and the would-be renters were relieved that they didn’t wire the deposit to the Western Union account as instructed.

I tried to go after the Perpetrator of the scam, but after spending hours online  looking for where to report the person on Attorney General and Government websites and getting nowhere, I gave up.

It’s still happening though, and now the Perps are getting really clever. They are looking at the online tax records of the properties to come up with the REAL owner name. Then they create an E-mail account in the Owner’s name (Yahoo or other) so that any correspondence with potential renters will appear legit if the renter checks it out. This appears to be happening all across the USA.

I routinely put out ‘Scam Alert’ warnings to potential renters on Craig’s List. If  you’re looking for a year-round rental anywhere on the Cape, be alert to this scam!

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.