About a year ago, I started getting strange calls and emails â€“ and became aware of aÂ HUGE scam.Â Â These calls & emails were from prospective renters looking forÂ year-round rentals in my town, and had found a home advertisedÂ on Craigâ€™s List. Â However, the rentalÂ just seemed too good to be true, and the prospective renter was wise enough to try and check it out first. It always involvedÂ unusuallyÂ low rent for the area, with the supposedÂ property ownerÂ being away in Africa doing missionary work and just needing someone to â€œtake good care of the houseâ€ for her while she was away.Â (In my experience, itâ€™sÂ always been a woman who is the homeowner.) Â Anyway, these rentersÂ happened to discoverÂ that the properties in question were alsoÂ listed â€˜for saleâ€™ Â - and they tracked me down as the listing broker to confirm that the rental was legit. Of course it wasnâ€™t, and the would-be renters were relieved that they didnâ€™t wire the deposit to the Western Union account as instructed.
I tried to go after theÂ PerpetratorÂ of the scam, but after spending hours onlineÂ looking for where to report the person on Attorney General and GovernmentÂ websites and getting nowhere, I gave up.
Itâ€™s still happening though, and now the Perps are getting really clever. They are looking at the online tax records of the properties to come up with the REAL owner name. Then theyÂ create anÂ E-mail account in the Ownerâ€™s name (yahoo or other) so that any correspondence with potential renters will appear legit if the renter checks it out.This is happening across the nation, so if you are looking for a rental, be aware of this scam.
I routinelyÂ put out â€˜Scam Alertâ€™ warnings to potential renters on Craigâ€™s List, one was seen byÂ aÂ local newspaper reporter who just ran a story about it inÂ today'sÂ Cape Cod Times.Â Iâ€™m linking the story here as well. http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100313/NEWS/3130310