Scam artist advertising my for sale listing all over internet as for rent for a fraction of the price. What can I do?

Asked by Joanna Para, Palos Hills, IL Wed Apr 27, 2011

There is a scam artist advertising my luxurious for sale listing as for rent for a fraction of the price using my photos (copied them from my advertisements). I receive several phone calls every day (and those are only people that took an effort to drive by the house and noticed my For Sale sign), people knocking on my clients door etc. I am trying to report the error to some of the web sites where this advertisement is found but they don't seem to be too cooperative and it is just simply difficult to track all the advertisements. I feel bad for my clients, I am tired of those phone calls where I need to explain the scenario and there is probably a number of people that contacted that phony person and provided their personal information in the rental application(social sec nr, address, dob etc) What do I do??

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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Apr 27, 2011
They are all over the place. I wish the websites would require some form of required identification to advertise, this way it would protect the consumer.

You will have to contact the website where it is posted. The scam artist wants to collect personal information for identity fraud and collect any money the unsuspecting person is willing to give up for the deal.
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1 vote
Catherine "C…, Agent, Metuchen, NJ
Sun May 1, 2011
This is so sad but unfortunately seems to be one of the biggest scam out there.

I have been doing a lot more rentals in the last few years and every year I am made aware of 2/3 of my rentals being used in such scams.
0 votes
Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Wed Apr 27, 2011
Hi Joanna:

The best advice is to report the scam to the website. Unfortunately that doesn't always work because the scam artists upload the listing again. We've had this happen with Craigslist. It eventually dies down, but it can disappoint a lot of people who hope to get a great rental at a bargain price. Fortunately, most people click in to the fact that the price is too good to be true, but, evidently, a few send their deposit money. And it is annoying to your buyers when people come looking around the house.

0 votes
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Apr 27, 2011
This has happened to my in NYC as well. Photos of an apt. for sale were being used by someone scamming to get people to give rental deposits. The people felt something was not right; three different parties looked up the listing and saw it was a sale and asked if he was connected with me in any way. I emailed the email address one of the victims had and told him I was on to him. It seemed to end there.
0 votes
Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Wed Apr 27, 2011
While you are at it, why not call the local news outlets and blog about it. It does happen all the time on Craig's list. I have even seen ads that say, 'pay no attention to the 'for sale' sign, we changed our mind and the realtor hasn't picked it up yet"! I have even heard of people showing up with a lease in hand and a moving van in tow because they wired the money for rent and security to an over seas bank account.

You would be doing your local consumers a favor to expose this scam and you might just get yourself a little free advertising to boot!
0 votes
allan erps,A…, Agent, Pearl River, NY
Wed Apr 27, 2011
this is why Craigslist is not always the best choice to sell real estate
0 votes
Sarah Goulart…, Agent, Plymouth, MA
Wed Apr 27, 2011
This happens fairly often on Craigslist. I try to stay on top of it by looking on Craigslist and 'reporting' it each time I find it. For me, it only happened for a rental listing I had, but the rental was $1800 a month and the scammer advertised it for $800. One person actually sent her infomation to this scammer after contacting him via Craigslist.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Apr 27, 2011
Why not inform the local authorities....
0 votes
Marie Souza…, Agent, Centerville, MA
Wed Apr 27, 2011
REPORT it immediately to all websites. Most have a scam/fraud link. Google the address, this will help you in finding where it is posted.
0 votes
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