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
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!