Realtors warn renters of scam on Craigslist

Posted at 6:41 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 20:41:06-04

Some moving plans are hitting a bump in the road due to a scam on Craigslist. Realtors said people are using the site to empty the pockets of potential renters.

Christie Gilliam is a realtor with Bentwood Realty. She said this scam has been around for years, where people share fake listings on Craigslist to try and make a quick buck.

She said they've been seeing this happen more often now that people are trying to quickly settle into a new home before the upcoming school year starts.

"Probably 10 to 20 of these are going on at least every week," Gilliam said. "They know that the people who've been searching for a home are starting to get desperate."

Gilliam said many of their properties are being shared and the people behind the duplicated listings are asking for payments.

"They are asking for deposits," Gilliam said. "They are taking photos from houses that are listed currently for sale and using those."

She said some listers use fake photos altogether. 

In June, Megan Reeves nearly fell for this scam. She was looking to move to Robinson and found an apartment on Craigslist that caught her eye.

"It looked like a loft straight out of New York," Reeves said. "But in the area I was looking in, I was kind of skeptical because I've never seen anything that would house an apartment like that."

After messaging the lister back and forth for a bit, Reeves realized there was something wrong and that the place didn't exist.

"I don't think I would've sent any money unseen or without a lease, but I know that there are people who do that and that is pretty scary that someone can just scam someone like that and change their whole lives," Reeves said. "I definitely dodged a bullet."

Gilliam said potential renters should look out for the red flags when searching for their next home.

They should go the property to check and see if there's a sign in the yard that says it's for sale. If the lister won't show the place in person, they may also want to start looking elsewhere. 

Gilliam said you should also wait for the lister to provide you with legal documentation before you hand over any of your money.

"If it doesn't feel right or if it feels like you're getting a great deal, that's probably not something you want to get involved with," Gilliam said.

If you have fallen victim to this crime, you are asked to contact police for help. 

Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.