Once they have the money, the scammers disappear. Tips and tricks for catching a Craigslist scam before it’s too late Posted September 04, 2019 By Dean Larson. See Gallery. Most landlords want to know who is living in their home. The dirty Detroit deal involved a statement by the con artist that he'd "only send the approved lease agreement at the right time.". So, how do you know if you’re getting scammed on Craigslist? The money is required upfront. Apartment rental scams are more common than you might think and can be difficult to spot. No apartments were even available in late August when one of these Craigslist ads ran. How To Spot A Craigslist Scammer: 3 Telltale Signs. December 28, 2017. Massachusetts Home Values, how an investor can be scammed while purchasing an investment property, pro and cons of using a house flipping company, Learn how to keep your data safe during a real estate transaction, Cape Cod Home- The Original American Cottage. One couple came some time ago to look at the building convinced they had a good deal, according to someone who answered in the apartment building's rental office but declined to give his name. However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t buy and sell on Craigslist if you know the scammer warning signs for Craigslist fraud and how to avoid scams on Craigslist. Bill Gassett covers the. Scammers often prey on first-time apartment renters, long-distance movers and those who aren’t internet savvy. ", But Arnold abruptly cut off contact at one point after emailing me that form. The problem: The person he ended up texting with, clearly, was up to no good. I mean who couldn’t use a little extra money and it’s also good for the environment. You'd deal directly with this guy. Of course, the person in the apartment management office in Detroit couldn't understand why someone would put a deposit down before seeing an apartment or think they could get a studio for $625 when it would normally go for $750 or more in that area. If you are a renter, how can you protect yourself from falling for a rental scam? Paul Sian covers, An unoccupied house could be the target of a real estate scam. Background check that seller if you don’t want to get scammed. The building itself does exist — and there are people living in it. "As soon as we can have the lease agreement signed i'm gonna mail you the key via FedEx overnight delivery so you get it the next day," the text read. "Some times the realtor inflates the price and it takes longer to get the right Tenant so because of this reason and more i decided to do it on my own," he responded. Students in college towns, for example, can get taken by paying money to people via credit or debit card to “hold the apartment” until the landlord is back in town and able to show the space. Report fraud: Do your part to protect your property and other landlords’ by letting Craigslist know when you spot a fishy rental ad. Online rental scams exist, of course, because many apartment and home searches do begin by researching specialty websites. Scammers even sell boats as wheelchair accessible. Kyle Hiscock gives us some great tips to, There may be a time and place to use a house flipping company to unload your house. She and her husband ran across an online scam, too, when looking for a home closer to Southfield. 2. And he wasn't working with an agent or property manager. Tewksbury Real Estate. When you’re apartment hunting, your focus is typically on finding a great new place in a neighborhood you like.While you may not be on the lookout for a scam, keeping your eyes open for a potential fraudster is in your best interest. Rental scam #1 – the cloned listing. In August, a woman in Skokie, Illinois, was charged with posing as a landlord to steal rent money and security deposits from apartment hunters, according to WBBM Newsradio. The lack of a screening process is enticing to these renters. Once the prospects realize they've been scammed, the scammer has usually vanished with their money. To spot a Craigslist Scammer. "Did you like living there?". It requires very little effort on their part," Blankenship said. Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction. Search Massachusetts Homes and Real Estate for Sale- Map Based Search, Middlesex County Real Estate for Sale- New to Market, Essex County Massachusetts Real Estate and Homes for Sale, Buy A Condo | A Guide to Buying A Condo In Massachusetts, What is My House Worth? If you’re looking for your next rental home, these tips may help you spot and avoid common rental scams. If you're suspicious of a listing, go to the Craigslist for a few other cities and search for the same title or wording. Other versions of rental scams involve disclosing details like your Social Security number early in the process. It’s better to avoid a potential scam than to be scammed. The Listing Photos Have an MLS Watermark. On each post, there is a box at the top that you can check if you believe the ad is fraudulent (See photo). "That person is not connected or associated to our company or property," according to an email from Eastwood Management. The online photos make you want to look twice at this apartment, which isn't far from the Lodge Freeway and Wayne State University. Some Craigslist scammers may ask you to send money to a foreign address because they “have suddenly been stationed overseas,” or something similar. Who has a EV charging station at home? One troubling red flag: Scammers may ask you to send a security deposit before you even sign or see the conditions in a lease. "I think this is a rather common scam, unfortunately," said Laura Blankenship, director of marketing for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan. If you spot a possible rental scam you should contact the website that published the listing. He was in Arizona and couldn’t show the house. Craigslist also provides some example emails of scams used in the past. The newest feature on CL is EV charging. I asked him the square footage of the apartment. Check them out to get an idea of the language scammers use. Rental scams aren’t the only real estate scam you need to watch out for. Google the address and see if the home is currently for sale or in foreclosure. Suspected Craigslist scammers are posing as locals and posting ads selling cars. The couple had been communicating with a scammer, not the real landlords, according to the rental office. asking about "the item." Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, Zelle, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee." If the rental listing's photos sport a watermark – which is used to identify the owner of the photo – look closely. This is particularly common with real estate and rental scams. Got-your-back spirit gives a boost to Detroit startups, Why the love you met online cannot meet for drinks, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Urgency and desperation are what scammers are looking for when running a rental scam on Craigslist. The Livonia man, fortunately, gave up completely when he couldn't even see a lease in advance. A few minutes later, he texted: "How are you doing baby?". ), "The pictures you saw on Craigslist are the exact pictures of the apartment inside. Craigslist is a perfect example of that. Having some basic knowledge about the scammers and their techniques is a must for everyone who wants to rent a place successfully without dealing with frauds and their shady schemes. These peer exchanges are an amazing resource, especially since the the average U.S. home as more than 50 unused items worth $3,000 just lying around. That’s how they got photos of the house’s interior.". If wanted, he said, I could "go ahead and view the apartment environment. How to Tell If a Rental Is Legitimate. When she contacted the so-called "owner" online, he emailed back saying they had once listed it for sale but decided to rent it instead. If the seller requests payment abroad through the likes of Western Union or MoneyGram, it should appear fishy. "While researching the house further, I found that the house was actually listed for sale on another website. Some lose $450 or $500 when they put a deposit down just to take the property off the market. Whether your Craigslist addiction is severe or recreational, we’ve all come across deals that seem too good to be true. Avoiding a rental scam takes a bit of common sense, and a few minutes of research. Scammers want to get you off the site before anyone notices the fraud. On any day of the week, you can find hundreds of local listings that include apartment and home rentals, cars for sale, concert and play tickets, jobs, and every conceivable secondhand item you can think of. "What time will someone show us the studio?" Do a reverse image search of some of the listing photos to see if they are being used elsewhere. My contact for this mysterious studio apartment — and the same contact for the Livonia man — called himself Arnold Almelor. This is how some rental scammers try to lure you in and an easy way to know how to spot a scammer on Craigslist. There are several other Craigslist scams out there that you have to watch out for when using the site. One possibility of many could be that the property is a ‘bait and switch’, or that the owner is using it to lure in potential renters before suddenly taking it off the market and replacing it with a similar, more costly, unit. Pets are even allowed for an additional fee. Did you like living there? How to avoid scams. I know you've probably heard that before, but no words could be truer -- … They will create a listing, make the rental sound amazing, offer it at a very low price, not require money upfront, and so on. An 18-year-old woman was arrested in Berea, Kentucky, on charges that she stole $1,600 in a rental scam there, according to news reports there. Do not send money before a rental screening, it is quite possible you are part of a Craigslist rental scam. Urban chic apparently has its own charming appeal for cyber crooks too. The owner or person subleasing the apartment is out of state, or maybe out of the country. Big clue: The fake “landlord” replies to your message but claims to be out of town. ", "In the apartment?" No one, of course, was handling this deal for him. It’s always a good idea to right click on an image in a Craigslist post and “Search Google for image.”. Craigslist scams are unfortunately pretty common, so it's important to be extra vigilant if you want to buy a car from a seller on Craigslist. A Livonia man clued me into a Craigslist ad after an exchange he had during his search for an apartment that would be closer to his job in downtown Detroit. The scammer is trying to get you to send a deposit prior to ever seeing the property or meeting them. With the proliferation of free and paid rental sites, more and more rental scams are hitting the market. (Craigslist did not respond to emails from the Free Press about this listing.). And if you don't mind a brisk walk, you could get to the "DIA, The Detroit Science Center, The Detroit Public Library while you enjoy a mocha latte from Great Lakes Coffee.". By Dr. John L. Reizer Editor at NoFakeNews.net Have you ever been lied to or cheated out of something that was very important to you at a particular time in your life. Here are some practical tips to keep yourself safe. Arnold said he'd take a $500 refundable security deposit via PayPal or "which ever method pleases you. According […] I only learned this name after agreeing to have an email sent to me with this "rental/sublease application." A big American flag decorates one wall that is smartly painted in a rich, deep gray. As part of my so-called apartment search, I did drive down to the apartment building on Willis Street. How to spot a Craigslist scammer. "Yes, but i am out of town due to the nature of my Job! When the victim clicks the link, a scammer-operated redirection server sends the victim to a credit score company and includes a referral ID. Email or text from someone that is not local to your area. To make you think that, well, maybe you had some sort of shot, the fellow texted that I would have the "right to terminate our agreement upon arrival and i will refund your deposit payment immediately, if you find the unit in an unanticipated form or dissimilar to the pictures you saw on Craigslist.". He never answered that question. Follow her on Twitter @tompor. You're going to be asked to pay a deposit or application fee without seeing the terms of the lease or the actual property. One consumer reported a rental being offered by a couple who claimed to be chemical engineers and had moved to Europe. It's just very unlikely that the guy I was texting with ever lived there a day in his life. But how to tell a Craigslist rental scam is not as well known. Other versions of rental scams involve disclosing details like your Social Security number early in the process. Maybe I crossed the line and turned too personal when I asked: "What do you do? A property that is priced below the going market rate in your area should be an immediate red flag. First question: How soon can I see this one? In this video, Dustin Brohm, a Salt Lake City Real Estate agent shows how to spot a rental … They may have poor credit, no rental history or bad references. Desperationjudgment causes poor judgement. A white French glass door opens from the living room area into the small kitchen. The scammer may even say your purchase has already been shipped. Below is an example of a Craigslist rental scam. For example, a tenant who's vacating his apartment might decide to show it, pretending to be the landlord. "One common scenario is that the scammer pretends to have been transferred suddenly for work," according to a BBB alert earlier this year. Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter. On another note, the lack of screening process also plays into the renters on the fringe. An eye-catching red-white-and-blue pillow perks up a modest light gray chair. Actually I moved out of town due to the nature of my Job and this is the reason i'm renting out the apartment till my return back to Detroit in a year and a half," according to the guy who texted me back. Craigslist plainly states, "Anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer." Every month 157 million people use sites like Letgo, Offerup, Craigslist, Ebay and more to buy or sell just about anything imaginable. (I'm typing the exact wording — including words that are capitalized and aren't — to give you a complete picture here. Contact Susan Tompor at 313-222-8876 or stompor@freepress.com. No chitchatting about Midtown's tacos or tapas. Stumbled upon a deal that sounds like a total steal? You can find multiple listings for the apartment… in different cities. These can be homes for rent or homes for sale. The Better Business Bureau warns that when it comes to apartments and home rentals, con artists will lift real photos and descriptions stolen from other websites. Here are 9 ways to spot a rental scam on Craigslist: The scammer calls himself Bob Osell, claims to be renting the house located at 2237 Kay St. in Longmont, Colorado, and to be reachable at (760)2378225. How to Tell if a Rental is Legitimate During the summer months, the scammers come out swinging so be aware. If a seller encourages you to send a down payment or any form of money before receiving your item, this is a strong indication that they are trying to scam buyers. Maybe you were the victim of a serious crime such as robbery, identity theft, Internet fraud, or … He spotted a one-bedroom apartment with attractive wood floors on Willis Street, nicely priced at $625 a month. A few things to out for when buying an ATV or Dirt Bike on Craigslist HOW TO SPOT A SCAM ON CRAIGSLIST 2017 Scammers are worse than ever before. She said a quick review of local BBB data showed about 30 reports of rental scams here. Now whether he'd FedEx me anything — or perhaps be so clever as to mail some key that didn't work — I don't know. Cybersecurity can be critical during any real estate transaction. More: Got-your-back spirit gives a boost to Detroit startups, More: Why the love you met online cannot meet for drinks. Is renting on Craigslist a good idea? When a victim replies to the rental ad, the scammer asks the victim to obtain their credit score by clicking on a link included in the email. How I Fell for an Awful Craigslist Rental Scam and What I Should Have Done Differently. By Elise Torres. It's ridiculous. We're talking about an adorable apartment that's fully furnished, all utilities — gas, electricity and water — included in what some call the North Cass neighborhood. I'm not usually one to text with scammers but an apartment rental deal in Detroit's Midtown had me intrigued. A proper rental screening includes pulling a credit score and asking questions about work history, salary and rental history. Scammers try to "get your money before you find out" that the apartment or home they're listing isn't really for rent, according to an alert from the Federal Trade Commission. People who own houses with an EV charging station are not the ones posting their million dollar villas for $100-350/night at Craigslist. As you’re hunting for your next house or apartment to rent, look out for these red flags to help avoid future rental scams.. Are you being scammed? By now, in 2018, most people know that rental scams on Craigslist abound. There is always a story that leads you to believe they are a good person and are trustworthy. This is one of the most popular Craigslist rental scams, perhaps because it’s so cheap to execute. Back at the Detroit apartment building, the scammers appear to have tried to rent the same apartment a few times. Your email address will not be published. Vague initial inquiry, e.g. Requesting deposit money first. For example, a scammer may list a 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath house for rent at half the … 2. If the image pops up on other listings, or other websites for a different location you’re dealing with a cloned listing. Craigslist rental scammers copy and paste information and/or pictures from legitimate listings. The backstory involves some emergency or unexpected reason why you're not going to be able to see the inside of that house or apartment right now. 03/11/2014 05:32 pm ET Updated May 11, 2014 When something is too good to be true, it probably is. "Oh sorry! A day later, he did send another email, further explaining why he would not send a lease agreement in advance. "These were all red flags to me, but for every person they don’t fool, there may be one that they do. Thousands of people post ads here every day for free, ... Scammers can still show you the property without owning it, … Poor grammar/spelling. Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following: 1. I responded. A rental that seems too good to be true is often one of the many Craigslist rental scams. "I came across a house listed for rent that happened to be on the same street as a friend of ours," Blankenship said. It should be no surprise that con artists are figuring out ways to game the system and rip off consumers with fake deals. Know who is signing the lease as the landlord. Up Next. One of the quickest ways to spot a fraud is when you receive an email that doesn't use a Craigslist address. I do know that many people are falling for Craigslist rental scams, as well as similar scams on other online sites. ", "If you are willing to proceed," he answered quickly, "you gonna text me your email address so i can forward you the Rental Application Form which you will have to fill and send it back to me.". 4. First problem: You're not getting any further than those pictures. In some cases, the BBB said, the scammer may claim that you can see the property through a rental agent — only after you pay the deposit. I told you," he said in a snarky text. He, of course, was no longer in Michigan. What Is The Difference Between A REALTOR And A Real Estate Agent? I texted the person offering to sublet the apartment. View more articles. Just fine, I thought. (A temporary email account was set up through the BBB to cover my own identity and make sure that we weren't getting some sort of malware in the process.). Bustathief » Online Scams » How To Spot Craigslist Rental Scams. Yep, and I'm telling you, Arnold, we're not falling one bit for this dopey deal. ", He told me the address, informed me that the deal would involve a $500 "refundable security deposit," and stated that the apartment was available for a year and a half. 3. 2. The grammar on those texts or emails is out of whack. We’ve had instances in the past where scammers have stolen the pictures from homes for sale on Zillow and posted them as rentals on Craigslist. Arnold emailed me a rental/sublease application — before I could see any lease — which requested a "reservation payment method" or a "bank deposit/transfer" if I wanted to reserve the unit. How To Spot Craigslist Rental Scams. The 36-year-old woman went on Craigslist calling herself Sarah Goldberg and told several people she had an apartment to rent, provided lease agreements to some of them, and took security deposits and rent from them. ... How to spot a Craigslist scammer. We prepared an ultimate list of tips that will teach you how to spot a rental scammer while looking for a perfect place and we’re ready to make a real homegrown renting expert out of you. No idea where this renter was working now. He might lead all prospects to believe they're getting that apartment and collect fees and security deposits upfront. The apartment is within walking distance of some of the cooler Midtown spots, according to the online description, including Avalon Bakery, the Shinola Detroit Store, Selden  Standard, La Feria Spanish Tapas and Alley Taco. Via PayPal or `` which ever method pleases you is likely a scammer. from Eastwood Management looking your. 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