A few months ago, I listed a house for rent and a prospect contacted me for information. She decided that the rent was too high for her budget but then she contacted me about a Craigslist ad for the SAME PROPERTY, at a lower rate.
It turned out that a scammer had “cloned” my ad and created a new for-rent ad, for the same property at a lower rate and with completely different contact information. When I searched the scammer’s ad, it had already been taken down.
Now I subscribe to a Google service that notifies me of any web pages where the address of my rental property appears. If I see anything suspicious, I can investigate it right away. You can do the same. Go to: Google.com/Alerts and start creating your own search.
If You Are a Victim of a Craigslist Rental Scam
Here is what you need to do if you are a victim of a Craigslist rental scam:
- Make a screen shot of the listing as soon as possible. Scammers often post a listing very briefly and then take it down as soon as they get a response.
- Alert Craigslist by flagging the post as ‘prohibited.”
- Send details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the URL(or 10-digit post number) in your message.
- Follow-up on Craigslist and renew the site to ensure that the faulty posting is removed.
- Go to www.forums.craigslist.org and tell the community about this scammer. You may be able to help someone else.
- DO NOT attempt to contact or “set up” the scammer or jeopardize your safety.
You should report eh issue to theInternetCrimeComplaintCenterand file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To report to the FTC, go to the FTCComplaintAssistant.gov site and fill out the information online.
This article first appeared in the Memphis Area Association of Realtors publication, www.MettsPartners.com. Reprinted with permission of the Wisconsin Apartment Association News.