Avoid Craigslist Scam on Home RentalsPosted Tuesday, July 9, 2013
If you are looking for a home to rent, there is a Craigslist scam that you need to be aware of. This fraud is happening all across the country. No town or city is off limits.
How the Scam Works
Scammers are finding houses listed for sale and posting them on Craigslist as homes for rent. They take the pictures posted online of the home for sale, all the home listing information and post it as a rental.
When you send them an email asking to see the home, they tell you they are out of town working and that you can drive by the home to see it. They will also tell you that there may be a For Sale sign in the yard and to just ignore that.
If you tell them you want to rent the home, they ask you to fill out an application via email and include all your personal information. Once you have given your social security number, credit card number and driver’s license number, these perpetrators can then commit identity theft. They can open credit cards in your name at their address and rack up thousands of dollars in charges. They can also order a replacement birth certificate, social security card and driver’s license.
How to Avoid the Scam
Use another method for finding a rental property, such as rental agencies or referrals from friends and family.
If you use Craigslist to search for rental properties, here are a few tips to help you spot rental scams:
- The deal sounds too good to be true. Scammers often list a rental for a very low price to lure in victims. Find out how comparable rentals are priced, and if the rental comes in suspiciously low, walk away.
- You receive a request to transfer funds via Western Union, Moneygram or some other wire service. Never wire money at the request of any prospective landlord.
- They don’t ask for permission to check your credit. That’s a red flag!
Always check the Better Business Bureau to see if the “company” has any complaints against it.
Better Business Bureau