Beware of real estate listings on Craigslist!!!. 

Advantage Realtor Group and the Martin Team continue to explore ways to market properties for sale or for lease. During the last few weeks our firm and our clients have become the victim of scams.  

In one case a home renting for $1395 was being advertised on Craigslist for $700 per month by a scam artist.  We received numerous calls and e-mails from potential tenants regarding these properties.  The e-mails, in some cases stated the owner (the scammer) was a missionary and not currently living in the property.  Other e-mails have declared the owner as a member of the military deployed to an overseas base and no longer living in the property.  We tried continually to work with Craigslist regarding these scams, although this “new” listing was not part of our account we have no control over the posting.  A lot of people think that Craigslist holds many great opportunities for low cost rental properties.
Before you begin your search or sign on the dotted line, be aware that there are many unscrupulous people using Craigslist, posing as rental agents, just to get your money or your  personal and financial information. Suggestions for avoiding a Craigslist or other internet scam. 

ALWAYS deal with a reputable licensed Real Estate Agent.  Any person can go online to a local Board of Realtors and get names of licensed real estate agents. A house hunter can also log onto and find listings and the actual real estate agents name.  

E-mail or fax ANY suspected scams to Craigslist.  If you encounter a possible scam e-mail the ad to Craigslist allowing them to investigate. At the same time try to find out the Real Estate agent that actually has the home or apartment listed. Scan any provided photographs carefully. Do they match up with what you’ve seen in person? Do they look like they all came from the same place? Try to locate the actual owner by going online to a local appraisal office which lists the owners of properties.

VIEW THE PROPERTY!  You have the right to look at all properties before you send any money. 

The scam artist does not ask for an application or permission to check your credit? That’s a red flag!

NEVER, Never send money or sign ANY documents until you have a complete understanding with whom you are dealing and the legal owners of the property or the licensed real estate agent. Many scam artists ask for money to be sent via Western Union, cashier check or cash. Do not do this!!!!!

The number of fake rental scams on Craigslist and other online classifieds continues to grow, with new aliases appearing daily. But while the names may change, the methods are always the same. Don’t believe these ads appear only on Craigslist. They could show up anywhere!