Renters beware - crooks are once again using Craigslist to rip people off. If you're looking to rent a house or an apartment on Craigslist, fraud is on the rise. Crooks are using the popular website to pose as agents, then steal your deposits.
The new rental scam is targeting both landlords and potential tenants.
Con artists are scouring the popular website for rental properties, and then they're using those homes in two ways.
Some scammers are actually posing as agents. Broker John Dietrich says twice recently, someone somehow gained access to homes he listed for rent, and then the imposter showed the property as if he were an agent.
The imposter reportedly gave the victim a business card, and got her into some of the homes.
Broker Kelly Ireland says she's also seen another angle - criminals pretending to be homeowners abroad.
"They'll send you an email or call you saying that they - usually some kind of religious thing - that they had to go over there suddenly, and they're not really concerned with the rent. That's why they're asking a reduced rate. They just want someone to come in and really take good care of their house. They can do a drive by, if they like it they can send a cash security deposit, so that's a red flag right there."
Ireland just rented out a house, and the tenant left her a message saying multiple people showed up at the house knocking on the door. The house wasn't available, but it was listed on Craigslist, supposedly for rent - except the person collecting the deposit had nothing to do with the home.
"They had actually duplicated my ad, but taken out my information. They were pretty clever. They must have gone into tax records, they found the owners name and made a fake email address with his name in it," said Ireland.
The only way to protect yourself from these guys is to make them prove their credentials, get a good phone number and a good office address from them and check it out.
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