From the Better Business Bureau
Phony ads for rental properties across the country are cropping up, and are specifically aimed at stealing money from unsuspecting renters while listing homes that are actually for sale. If you are selling your home or know someone who is interested in renting a home, be on the lookout for scammers on Craigslist and other online classifieds.
Online classifieds have made finding rental properties much more convenient in recent years and millions of people have had successful transactions online. Unfortunately the convenience provided potential customers is also abused by scammers, who have found a way to make a quick buck by taking advantage of unsuspecting, trusting renters all across the country.
After responding to an online classified for a rental property, victims say they were told by the supposed landlord that they needed to wire as much as $1,400 as a deposit and then they would receive the keys to the rental home. When the victims asked if they could check out the property first, the landlords claimed that they were out of the country and could not show the house.
Calls to the BBB have included real estate agents who receive phone calls from suspecting consumers checking out the supposed rental before sending any money. Fortunately, these people called the real estate agent directly and found out the property was not for rent but had been listed for sale.
As a result of this scam, many shocked homeowners have received knocks at their doors by people who were planning to move into their new rental home. The real homeowners had their house up for sale – not rent - and had pictures posted online that the scammers could steal for their bogus listings.
Red flags to look out for:
If you are a homeowner who has had experience with this scam, please contact the BBB at 806/379-6222. For more advice you can trust from BBB on how to avoid common scams, visit www.bbb.org.