Cheap Rental Home Scam

Cheap Rental Home

Washington newspaper The Olympian recently reported on a serious real estate scam going around Craigslist that could cost unsuspecting shoppers thousands of dollars. Creative scammers, usually located overseas in remote areas that U.S. law cannot affect, find ads elsewhere on the Internet for properties for sale by real estate agencies. They then copy the pictures, address and description of the property and list it on Craigslist for well below market value.

You might think you are getting an amazing deal from a desperate seller, but instead you’re only being ripped off. Buyers who fall for the hoax send the purchase price (or at least a deposit) to the seller’s bank account and then desperately wait for contracts or deeds that will never come. The seller promptly disappears with the money and moves right along to the next deal.

“Sometimes they’re just asking for an application fee, but then they get 50 applicants and they’ve got their money,” the article reports. “Others ask for a full deposit fee to hold the rental.” 🙁