Local Buyer Beware: Craigslist Property Scams

Published: Jul. 19, 2010 at 4:49 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2010 at 11:47 PM CDT
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Maxine Ridling
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Many realtors in our area are warning home buyers to beware of recent Craiglist scams. The most recent address listed is 2400 South Polk Street, and when someone E-Mails the "homeowner" about the property, a response comes back with this:

Thanks for the email. My name is Kennet James  the owner of the 1Bedroom Single-Family Home you are making enquirer of, Its still available for immediate possession. The rent includes all utilities such as : - all furnishings - linens- tableware-  cooking utensils- water- heat- Internet- basic cable TV etc Options and extras:- off-street  parking / garage (2 cars) - electricity- phone- digital or HD TV.Presently am out of the country to cover some story of African History in West Africa countries like: Sudan, Ghana and Nigeria, and others but presently in Nigeria. I'm a TV News  correspondent. This is a very big task but I have to do it, all the documents to the property and keys are in safe hand here with me. we are looking for a responsible person that can take a very good care of it for us, as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the possible tenant will see the house as his or her own.
Here is the House address: 2400 South Polk Street, Amarillo TX 79109..Ready for immediate move-in!You can drive down there to take a look at it...I will be willing to rent my house out for the maximum of 5 years and below. I personally had wanted to sell the house earlier on. But after long time deliberation between me and my wife Elizabeth we finally agreed on renting out the house, because it was initially to be sold. But I really want you to take good care of the house, as if it were your own house.
I will be online through out to get back to you as soon as you are able to get back to me. I would want to know how soon you would want to move in, as I will be taking a 1 or 2-month up front payment which mean the first and last months you will be staying in the house including some utilities (Electricity, Water, Internet, Heat and Garbage). I am asking for $1,000  For 2 month up front payment Or $500 for 1 month up front payment and I believe we should be able to help ourselves. including utilities because I want you to take a very good care of the house while I am away.  NB: I will like you to give me a call on this effect to know how serious you are in this rent.+2347066600897 or 0112347066600897 so I will be expecting your mail with the information.
Because due to my present location. Is not possible for you to view the interior of the place when I have the keys and the document with me here in Africa..I am looking forward to hear from you ASAP so I will like you to go ahead and fill out the rent application form so that will can proceed further and discuss on how to get the  the keys and papers sent to you via Dhl or ups etc, also are you ready to rent it now or when?.So here is the Rent Application Form Below..
               =========  RENT APPLICATION FORM ============
                                   PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Also,Pls answer these questions below:
1)Your Full Name ?
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone Number ?
3)How old are you ?
4)Are you married ?
5)How many people will be living in the Home ?
6)Do you have a pet ?
7)Do you have a car?
8)Occupation ?
9)How long are you willing to stay ?
10)When do you intend to move in ?
11)1 month Or 2 month deposit needed ?
12) Pictures of all the Occupant that will stay in my Home ?
Thanks and awaits your mail as soon as possible to know how serious you are in renting the house from me
Pet allows.
I will use the information above to prepare the rental agreement , rent receipts and other documents. Make sure the correct information is type.Do reply with your both cell & house number I am going to call you if your application form has been accepted.A package containing the housing documents, property address with full description. Including the direction to the place and keys will be ship to you once you both agreed with the term and condition.
Thanks & God Bless
Kennet James"

If you have received an e-mail like this one, then it is a scam. Do not reply, and report it to the FBIs Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Larry Brown Realtor, Cindy Hays, said local residents have called her asking about this e-mail, and she has the same response.

"There is a scam going around on Craigslist right now and what they're doing is they are looking at listings in Amarillo and they are saying it's for lease, I've had several people call me from those listings that they are advertising on Craigslist and they are asking me if they are leasing the properties, and it is a scam."