In a previous post we discussed Craigslist Rental Scams Being Run From Nigeria? and it brought out some amazing comments on how families were being ripped off.
I decided to do a quick post explaining some of the common threads that occurred to these people as warning signs that a scam might be going on.
Warning signs of a Craigslist Rental Scam:
- The price is below market rate. This is the lure that separates the clear thinkers and those that tend to be nervous or desperate.
- The owner is overseas, typically a missionary. The missionary angle is to gain credibility. Overseas, typically Africa and most Nigeria, is to get you to send money to these countries without thinking about it.
- They want you to wire money via Western Union. Enough said on this one.
- When you go by the home there is someone living there. These folks are audacious enough to try to rent homes that are occupied. They are preying on the fact you are too lazy to do your homework.
So what to do.
How To Check If A Craigslist Rental Is A Scam:
- Do a Google search for the property. Odds are the property is already for sale. If there is a listing, typically you will see this on Trulia or Zillow, call the agent. They will be able to give you an answer.
- The price is below market. Very rarely will someone discount rent to the general public. If they are a missionary they will go through a local charity before just going onto Facebook.
- Knock on the door of the unit for rent. Let them know that you have seen this ad on Craigslist and ask if the advertisement is legit.
- If no one is about, ask a neighbor or the super. They will know.
- If it is a scam, let Craigslist know. They will remove the listing.
Here are a couple of Craigslist Search Tools that can help you to see if you house is getting scammed.