Craigslist Rental Scams
A prospective tenant called us and said the property we had listed for $1300 per month on Craigslist was also listed on another ad for $900 per month. Huh? Another ad? Nobody at our company would have listed it at that rate.
So we searched Craigslist and saw another listing with the same pictures and description for $900 a month, it said to contact ‘David Ball’. Of course you can’t call him, but when you email him you get an automatic reply that says he is away in South Africa, decided not to use a realtor and is just looking for a good person to rent the property.
He tells you to go by and look at the property but of course you can’t get in. Then if you like it you are supposed to Western Union some money over to him, wherever he is.
As soon as you send your money, it’s gone, no house, no nothing.
We flagged the fake ads on Craigslist and they were taken down. We did speak with police, but it is not likely anything can be done. The people posting those ads could be anywhere in the world.
A similar scam on owners is prospective tenants who reply to ads and say they want to rent a property. They are usually some type of foreign exchange student. Their ‘sponsors’ send you a fake cashier’s check for more then what is owed. You are then supposed to wire the difference to their decorator. A week later, the cashiers check has bounced and you are out the money you wired.
So when we have ads running, we will monitor and flag fake ads.
Tenants should be aware of these fraudulent ads and never send any money unless you have met with an agent and viewed the inside of the property.