There are "two types of Craigslist rental scams currently circulating," said Paula Fleming, spokeswoman for the Marlborough-based Better Business Bureau. "In both variations of this scam, the scam artists have found or lifted information concerning real rentals for rent or houses for sale from legitimately posted opportunities, and are using that info to purport their own scams via fake Craigslist postings."
The consumer became suspicious when the poster demanded she wire money for the rent and deposit, but after completing an application which gave her personal information to the con artist. The scammer claimed to have been out of the country on missionary work, and said the comparatively low rent of $900 was because he wasn't paying a real estate agent's commission. He even told the consumer that she might "find the ad elsewhere at a higher price" because he had previously listed it with a local realtor and the larger price included a broker commission.
Because these scammers often simply copy existing ads and repost the information as their own, consumers who search online will often find both ads. As with many scams, these con artists use the victims own greed against them. If the consumer is scared they will be forced to pay a higher price if they contact the licensed realtor, they will often try to cut the brokerage out of a commission by dealing directly with what they believe is the property owner. Far too often, the reality is that they have just allowed themselves to be scammed!
To protect yourself from home and apartment rental scams, always utilize the services of a licensed real estate broker who specializes in home rentals and property management for your target area. Confirm the identify of the real estate associate, and verify that they have an active real estate license. You can use the website http://arello.com to confirm real estate licenses in many states.
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