Beware of Real Estate Related Scams!

There is currently a scam on Craig’s List that offers properties for rent that are NOT actually for rent.  We were contacted by a local person who had been looking for rental

and when she drove by the house she saw our for sale sign in the yard and called us for more detail on the rental.  We were quite sure the owner was not planning on renting the house and we confirmed that with them.  The scammer said she was temporarily out of the country etc., etc,.  Of course the money for the first month’s rent, deposit etc. would have to be wired or deposited into an account to secure the listing.  Not many people buy homes site unseen but they do enter into rental agreements without viewing the property because rentals are so hard to come by here.  The interior photos posted on Craig’s list were not of the same house they were showing the exterior of.  So apparently these scammers just randomly pick photos, addresses of houses and hope some one will ship them some money.  Turns out we are not the only office having this problem locally.  The Northwest Wyoming Board of REALTORs put an email out to our membership yesterday and I was given permission to pass it along to you.

There is an entire page on Craigslist devoted to dealing with scams, so this is obviously not an uncommon occurrence. Here’s the link: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

Craigslist provides the following advice on avoiding scams to anyone using their service:

  • Trust your instincts
  • Deal only with local buyers and sellers
  • NEVER wire funds to a distant buyer, via Western Union or any other carrier
  • Be wary if the other party wants to use an escrow service such as BidPay, Squaretrade, or even PayPal
  • NEVER give out personal financial information (eBay or PayPal info, checking account number, SSN, etc.)
  • always remember the most important rule — BUYER BEWARE

This advice isn’t specific to Craigslist. It’s just all-around good advice. Below are the top three Craigslist scams.

  • The buyer or seller doesn’t live near you.
  • The buyer or seller wants to pay by cashier’s check, US Postal Service money order, Western Union, or escrow service (BidPay, Squaretrade, etc.).
  • The buyer or seller won’t agree to meet with you in person.

If you happen to see something on Craigslist that looks “scammy”, you should send an email to abuse@craigslist.org and give them as much detail as you can about the listing. Make sure you include URL (or 8 digit post ID number) in your email.

(Thanks for the info Laura@NWWBOR)

Sarah Johnson

About Sarah Johnson

Johnson Home and Land is a small but active real estate firm in rural northwest Wyoming. We are an experienced team of professionals who seek inform our readers about the local and national real estate market. Contact us at info@johnsonhomeandland.com or 307-548-6909
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