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Craigslist scammers still striking in Pa.

By: Kelly Leighton on in

While technology does have its advantages in the real estate industry, the reality is it is very easy for someone to take your photos, descriptions and addresses of your properties and list them elsewhere to scam potential renters or buyers.

PAR was recently made aware of residents in the commonwealth being scammed for housing on Craigslist.

The Luzerne County Association of Realtors® learned of a local house for sale by a professional real estate brokerage, which was illegally listed by another person as a rental property on Craigslist. A consumer interested in renting the property contacted the broker prior to sending a payment, only to learn that an unauthorized person had offered the property for rent.

These rental scams have occurred throughout the country and have cost consumers millions of dollars. Scammers illegally take listing information from a home for sale and re-post the property as a rental on another website, such as Craigslist. Many times, the scammer will ask for payment upfront from possible tenants.

As Realtors®, you can do your part to stop scams. Make sure you check online, via a search engine like Google, for the address, photos or descriptions of your properties being used elsewhere.

Remind your clients to be diligent, and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If you believe your properties have been the targeted for a rental scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency and to the FTC. You should also contact the website where the ad was posted as well.

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Comments (7)

Comments

  • Aaron Gray   September 22, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Sad reality, I went to show a house recently to one client a week after showing it to another. There was someone living in the property that the listing agent did not know about when I contacted him.

    This is a real problem and you would like people know better then sending people money before ever seeing a place but they don’t.

    Reply to Aaron Gray
  • Joy Foust   September 22, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Thank you for this article. This recently happened to my listing in the Pittsburgh area as well.

    Reply to Joy Foust
  • Denise Devine   September 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Great idea to search for the property images. Thank you for the link showing how to perform that function.

    Reply to Denise Devine
  • Carol foltz   September 22, 2017 at 8:40 am

    It happened to me years ago. They person supplying info on craigs list went as far as to take my last name He presented his self as the rev james foltz. Gave a long story about being iver seas for humanitary reasons. A potential renter traveled 4 hrs to see this rental and was confused when they saw my for sale sign out front. This home was not vacant. The sellers still lived there. I turned it into who ever would listen which were not many. The cyber police, local police, craigs list . It evenially went away but i never receives any type of follow up from any law enforcement agency

    Reply to Carol foltz
    • Scott   September 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Sounds familiar!

      Reply to Scott
  • Joan Walmer   September 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

    This happened to me many years ago and I was not aware it was happening again. Usually the rent is very low for the property and that seems to prompt buyers to send money before someone else rents it. Thanks for the heads up!

    Reply to Joan Walmer
  • Cambria Somerset Association of REALTORS   September 22, 2017 at 10:55 am

    This is happening in our area again.

    Reply to Cambria Somerset Association of REALTORS

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