Craig's List Scam
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a consumer alert affecting real estate listings in a rental housing scam. Criminals are searching Web sites that list homes for sale. They take the information in those ads - lock, stock and barrel - and post it, with their own e-mail address, in an ad on Craigslist (without Craigslist's consent or knowledge) under the housing rentals category. The houses are almost always listed with below market rental rates. The listings may also be posted on other rental sites. Potential renters might then be asked to fill out credit applications asking for personal information like credit history, social security numbers, and work history. Criminals can use this information to commit identity fraud and steal money from their victims.
REALTORS are encouraged to check to see if their listings are appearing on any of the following sites:
(try searching by address or zip code)
Agents may wish to consider signing up for Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts
) for each of their listings in order to get an e-mail anytime that address is posted on a Web site.
LVAR has seen several cases of unauthorized listing display. We recommend the following approach.
Contact the website owners using every possible method (registered mail, email and telephone) to make it clear that you are the listing agent on the property appearing on their site, explain that the display of your listing information on the site is not authorized and demand that it be removed immediately.
After seven days, check the site to see if the listing has been removed. Follow up with the site owners again if it has not been removed. In other words, stay after them until it is removed.
Keep a log of the paper trail, e-mails and phone calls that reflect your attempt to pro actively get this situation resolved.