Craigslist Scam Advertises False Rental Deals

Craigslist Scam Advertises False Rental Deals

By / State News / Wednesday, 17 June 2015 04:00

RALEIGH, N.C. : June 15th, 2015 - If you’re looking for a home to rent, watch out for phony online listings. Rental fraudsters find information on properties that have been listed for sale elsewhere, create fake rental listings on websites like Craigslist, and then pose as the owners when potential tenants reply.
A Winston-Salem-area consumer recently reported paying $1,000 to an online scammer who advertised a rent-to-own home deal on Craigslist. The consumer replied to the ad, signed a contract and made a payment, only to learn that the scammer didn’t really own the property.
When browsing for homes for rent or sale online, look out for these warning signs:
• The advertised price is significantly lower than similar properties in the area.
• The listing says the owners will be gone for years and want someone to care for their home.
• You’re told you can only look in the windows of the property, not go inside.
• You’re asked to pay money upfront by wire transfer or prepaid debit card, and you may be asked to send the money overseas.
• You’re told that keys are with the property owner and will be sent once the contract is signed and the deposit paid.
To protect yourself from a rental scam:
• Search the property’s address online. If the property is listed for rent or sale with a real estate agent, contact the realtor directly.
• Walk away from the transaction if you’re asked to pay a deposit before
you’ve reviewed and signed a lease.
• Use secure payment methods like certified bank checks or credit cards.
If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov
Source: North Carolina Department of Justice.


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