Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Craigslist Scams, How to Identify a Potential Scam

I’ve answered many questions on my last blog about the scam involving my Lyndhurst listing- and honestly I don’t think all of the answers exist- But I am going to try my best to lay out the details!

Red Flags:  Some of the common red flags that seem to repeatedly pop up are listed below-  I’d love to hear if you have anything to add in the comments, and any questions to ask!

Red Flag 1: Typically a story about a hasty relocation, i.e. last minute volunteer opportunity, short notice  corporate relocation or long distance (cross country, or even global!) move-  The scammers are trying to validate the great deal- and provide logical, thorough renters with a reason!  

Red Flag 2: If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is!  As with my Lyndhurst listing, anyone in the area would be able to make an educated guess as to the ‘typical’ monthly rental rate for local properties-  The scam post that I experienced was low-balling by offering roughly 25% off a typical monthly rate for this type of home and location.  This may be slightly easier to identify for locals- but for someone who has recently moved to an area it can be a welcomed opportunity for a great deal!  In addition, the deal is often sweetened by offering a coveted neighborhood, or a fully-furnished rental.  Anything that would prompt people to pounce on an amazing offer is what the scammers are aiming for.

Red Flag 3: Meeting Information:  For obvious reasons, the scammers will make excuses for showing appointments and meeting to exchange keys.  They have no rental, and no intention of ever traveling from whatever far-off-land that they reside in- to meet with the potential renter.  Excuses are often even displayed in the post itself! For example: “Due to extenuating circumstances, I am un-available to meet for a walk through/key delivery, but I will send a friend.”

Red Flag 4:  Payment:  The end goal is to collect payment from un-suspecting victims: If a rental post is asking for any type of transfer through Paypal, Western Union and the likes- This should be the major warning sign!  At this point, the answer should be GOODBYE!

Moving is often a stressful period in our lives, and trying to find a home for rent can be difficult- Next  I will provide helpful tips researching and finding the best possible deal, without being an unknowing victim!

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