CraigsList is a great way to find bargains on used cars, household items and things like used exercise equipment. But BEWARE OF CRAIGSLIST RENTAL SCAMS! I got a call yesterday from a buyer who was interested in a property listed in the MLS as “For Sale”, actually “Pending” as it had just gone under contract. She then asked me why it was listed on craigslist as “For Rent”. That immediately was a big red flag, and here is the situation. When the property was listed in the MLS, a scammer saw the listing and noticed that it is listed as “vacant”. The scammer then copied the property description and listing pictures from the MLS and created a craigslist ad listing the property “for rent” at a price well below market, so that it would be very appealing to potential renters. The scammer did not include any direct contact information, only the standard “reply” button. Here is a picture of the ad:
I contacted the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department and learned that this is a fairly common practice for scammers from outside the area (usually outside the country) posing as the property owner, to dupe renters into sending them deposit and rental money. Don’t fall for this. Never send or wire money to anyone without seeing the property and determining who the true owner is. You can check the ownership status of any property at the County Tax Collector website here: Sarasota County Tax Collector
If you have been scammed, local law enforcement does not handle it, the agency in charge of internet crimes is the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center @ Internet Crime Complaint Center
If you are currently renting, now may be a good time to explore home ownership. In many cases owning your home may be cheaper than renting. There are down payment assistance programs available that can help. Click the link to find out what programs you might qualify for.
If you would like more information about making the step to home ownership please fill out the form below and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have!