SELECTED PRESS RELEASE:
5/28/2012 6:01:20 AM EST
|Craigslist Rental Scam And Zillow Scam
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There seems to be quite a rental scam going on these days inside of Zillow.com and craigslist.org. People from other countries are basically taking property information and pictures off from zillow or MLS and posting them in craigslist as a property rental as if they are the property owners. Then they try to have you fill out a rental application with all of your personal info on it.
This had happened to me one day last week, I was looking at some rental properties on craigslist for my area, when I came across a listing for a rental property 2 miles away from me and decided to take a look a little closer.
It was a 3-4 bedroom house with a 2 car attached garage and full basement with a long paved driveway.
This place sounded great however when I looked at the monthly payment it was $1000/mo, it seemed a little low but I just had to check it out.
First of all, there were no pictures of the house in the ad just a description of the house in my area but they left an email address to contact them for more info and pictures. So I emailed the person and they emailed back a few hours later with the pictures and a long email. The pictures looked great but the monthly price did not.
As I was reading the email, I got a sense this person was from another country because the written words in english were jumbled up a bit which put up a red flag. He then was telling me he was in the military and will be in Africa for the next 6 years and he wanted to rent his house and have someone take care of the property for him.
All he did was talk about himself like he was some really important person and he hardly spoke of the property which was a little odd.
At the bottom of the email was a property rental application that he wanted me to fill out in which then he wanted first months rent and deposit sent with it and he would fedex the house keys.
Now this is crazy, look I know the economy is bad but there is no way someone would rent this beautiful house for a $1000/mo. So I had to do some research.
I looked up the house on zillow and found the exact house that was up for sale. It said the house had a mortgage payment over $2000/mo. Say what? Yeah $2000/mo for this house.
RED FLAG, RED FLAG, RED FLAG. This must be a craigslist scam
And to top it off, it looked like the person just copy and pasted all of the info from zillow. Everything was the same, even down to the same fonts. This all came together now. This was a complete scam from someone wanting to rent a house they do not own and they wanted me to send them money and personal info.
I’m not sure which country this rental scam originated from but some of my sources online say this has been happening a lot and coming from Nigeria.
I did call the realtor who was handling the property sale. The realtor had told me this has been going on all over the country the last year or so and when one scam pops up they do notify craigslist so they can take the ad down. She did thank me for notifying her, she said most people won’t even bother contacting us but I did and she thanked me again.
I recently heard this happened to a person in which they fell for the scam and moved into a house they thought they were renting until the homeowners showed up. They even changed all the locks because the keys they got more than likely never fit the doors.
All I can say is always be very careful when trying to rent a property listed on craigslist as it could be a scam.
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