Friday, April 5, 2013

Craigslist Scams Striking Northeast Ohio Real Estate!

Many of us have heard the horror stories, and may have even had first-hand interaction with a tricky scammer online- I recently had a nightmare scenario unfold right in our own area- Lyndhurst!

A gorgeous ranch for sale in Lyndhurst began generating an unusual amount of phone calls one Tuesday morning- Which being in the profession that I am, I was quick to answer each and every one!  At first I was slightly confused, each call inquiring about a rental in Lyndhurst, that didn’t exist!  Let me clarify, I immediately recognized the home description and street address- however this was a home for sale, not rent!

After a little bit of research on my part- it turns out that these individuals had found an ad on Craigslist, for a rental home- upon driving to the house to check it out, they saw my Keller Williams sign in the front yard and decided to call me direct! 

In the hours following I was able to decipher the chain of events that had unfolded:
My live listing, for a home in Lyndhurst, had been pirated- the scammers had taken the EXACT description and my photos of the home, posted them on Craigslist as a rental- with an absurdly low monthly rate- and a fake story about being out of the country and needing a wire transfer to rent their home!  The end goal is that someone would wire the funds for the deposit/first months’ rent- and the scammers would collect that money from as many people as possible, leaving all of those innocent individuals with no rental and no money!

In the coming blogs, we are going to provide as much information as possible to assist in identifying, preventing and reporting these fraudulent listings- Situations like this effect everyone negatively, REALTORS, home buyers, renters, and the home sellers- it is important that we each play our part in prevention.

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