The Top Craigslist Housing Scams, Uncovered
Updated: Sep 23
With the coming of the internet, the world has been blessed with several easy channels for buying and selling products or services online. One longtime staple of the virtual garage and ad space has been Craigslist - an online advertisement platform that has everything from apartment sales to resume writing, and has become very popular among locals who want to quickly buy services or products.
Because of the nature of the platform, Craigslist rental scams have become common and can be very difficult to spot. Criminals have devised different ways of scamming renters out of their money or worse.
While these scams are often not obvious, here are few key rental scams that have been used recently. So watch out!
1. They are showing you the home, but it isn’t really theirs
One of the most common Craigslist rental scam involves a scammer that seems legitimate at first and even shows you around but is fake. The scammers can break into a back window or even steal the key from the actual landlord to show the rental to potential tenants. This will make it easy to believe the scammer since they pretend to be the landlord. Also, in some cases, the renter moves into a home, pays the deposit, only to find the actual owner some weeks or months later at their door. The owner might have been on a vacation for a long time while the home sat vacant waiting to be sold, and thieves noticed their absence and took advantage of the situation.
2. A rental that is too good to be true
Another rental scam is listings that makes the rental sound like a bargain. They will create a listing that makes the rental sound extremely amazing, offer it at a very cheap price with no upfront payments, and so on. If the landlord makes the rental too easy to live in, then you should be careful. This is one of the clues that you might be victims of a Craigslist scam. Scammers use great deals to catch people as people love these kind of cheap offers.
3. Requesting your info or money before letting you view the home
If you have to fill out a rental application before viewing a home, then you might be caught in the middle of a Craigslist rental scam. The scammer hopes that you will give them important personal information like bank account number, social security number, or something else. Once they have received all this information, they disappear. Also, if they request money before letting you view a home, then something is not right. This is always a scam. You should never pay loads of money just to see a home.
4. Landlord’s email has been compromised
One of the biggest and worst Craigslist scams is when the landlord’s email is compromised and you think you are talking to them, only to be talking to someone else. This scam is very scary because it is almost impossible to detect. However, the way around this is to contact the landlord through the phone number on the real listing and verify the email discussions. Most times, landlords are not even aware that they have been hacked.
Good luck on your home search. Stay diligent!