Chesterton Tribune

BBB: Beware rental scam on Craigslist

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The Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana (BBB) is warning folks of a scam involving a house, currently listed for sale, fraudulently posted on the “For Rent” section of Craigslist.

Information about that home, with photos and other facts, was apparently taken from the MLS or another syndicated sites and advertised for rent on Craigslist. Interested party(ies) were told they would have to send $2,000 to receive keys to the house in the mail. In most of these scams, the frauds are supposedly out of the country on vacation or business and are unable to personally show the home.

More than 15 persons have contacted the current homeowner, who has complained that people were looking in her windows, trespassing, and even arguing with her that she is not the owner, BBB said. Meanwhile, her homeowners’ association reported that hers was at least the fourth home for sale in the neighborhood fraudulently posted on Craigslist.

“This is one of several scams where cons are taking photos of homes, individuals, automobiles, etc. from sites such as Facebook and other Internet sites, then using them for their fraudulent activities such as this rental scam,” said Gail Zurek, area director of BBB of Northern Indiana. “We’ve had consumers scammed on dating, social networking, Internet marketplace and other websites because of this activity. As we have previously warned, consumers need to be extremely vigilant about who they are dealing with. Never pay anything upfront, including keys to a home you are about to rent. You’ll never see your money again.”

Not only are people losing a lot of money to these frauds, but in the case of the rental scam, homeowners are experiencing the inconvenience of being pestered by potential renters or the possibility of their homes being burglarized by thieves who believe the premises to be vacant. If you have something posted on a website for sale, and it requires the inquirer to come to your home, make sure you have at least one other person there with you for protection.

Never send money (generally asked to be sent through MoneyGram or Western Union) no matter how tempting it may be, BBB further cautioned. You will never see it again.

“These cons can come up with very believable stories, even to those who are sure they could never be scammed,” Zurek said.

Call BBB at (800) 552-4631 first to find out fact from fabrication!



Posted 7/27/2011