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Rachel LaMar, J.D.
Broker, Attorney, Owner
LaMar Real Estate
Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org
Cellular 760-310-9466
CA BRE# 01399682

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News, Views and Opinions on Real Estate, Law and the North San Diego Community

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L high res

Rachel LaMar, J.D.
Broker, Attorney, Owner
LaMar Real Estate
Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org
Cellular 760-310-9466
CA BRE# 01399682

News, Views and Opinions on Real Estate, Law and the North San Diego Community

Craigslist Rental Scam: Realtors Beware

There is a scam running rampant on Craigslist that affects Realtors and their sellers, and my client and I were just the “victim” of such a scam. According to the FBI this scam is run from Nigeria and innocent would-be renters have lost money.

Here’s how it works: the scammers find property listings on Craigslist. They take the words–verbatim–and photos off the agent’s ad and create an ad under home rentals. They create an email account in the name of the home owner (e.g. joe_seller@yahoo.com). When people reply to the ad they are sent a rental application and told to submit it with several thousands of dollars to secure the lease. The “seller” notes that he is (conveniently) out of town, but that you can drive by the home. He describes the home and talks about how wonderful it is, and includes a phone number.

In my case I was contacted by a would-be renter who realized things didn’t sound right. The grammar in the email was poor and she trusted her instinct and looked up the address to see if the property was on the MLS. Sure enough, it was and she contacted me about the lease. I told her the home was for sale, not lease. Luckily she did not fall for the scam, but apparently many people have.

If this happens to you it is important that you contact the FBI and your local police department. The FBI has a website where you can file complaints like this…please do so. The site is http://tinyurl.com/6yzpqe.

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11 Comments

  1. Rachel LaMar on January 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I agree Penny – there are too many people who try to make a living out of conning other law-abiding citizens.



  2. Penny on December 28, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Thank you for sharing this scam with us. I wish people spent as much time doing real work as they spent on trying to scam other people.



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  6. Find antiques on October 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Just curious, what was the rental scam that was posted on Craigslist? It has been removed. I reserved a unit in San Jose Del Cabo at a condo complex called La Jolla. I’ve spoken with the owner and it sounds very legit but something in my gut is telling me otherwise since I’ve seen several negative postings about a unit that my same guy apparently owns. And he is in the San Diego area. In my case it is for only 3 days so not much $. Please let me know. Thanks.



  7. Rachel LaMar, J.D. on April 8, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Cynthia, that really is a shame. I am sorry you had to go through that. Please DO notify Craig directly at Craig@craigslist.org, and appraise him of the situation. Best of luck and I hope you can get your money back. It is really sad how ruthless and dishonest some people are.



  8. Cynthia Carabba on April 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I did some research on the posting at both Craigslist and vrbo and discovered the unit in Cabo I have rented is owned by partners, one of which is trying to rent the unit without the other’s knowledge or paying his portion. The “good” owner has informed me that he will assist in getting me a refund and that I can stay in the unit and “if” I get a refund I can deal with the him and the HOA directly. Still don’t know if I trust that but I made some very serious threats to the bad guy who rented the place to me and will pursue those threats which will do more damage to his online reputation than the cost of the rental fee for which I may be out. I hope it doesn’t come to that but I will never use an online rental agency again. Thanks for responding to my post.



  9. Rachel LaMar, J.D. on April 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    If you have a gut feeling something is fishy I would stay away from it. NEVER give money to someone for a rental if you have not personally seen it, or if it is out of the area if you have not met with the owner. You always want to make sure and verify the alleged owner is the true owner. A title company can help you with this. Also, you want to make sure to get a lease in writing and have all the contact information for the owner.

    Another word of advice: Contact Craiglist and find out if the guy who posted the ad has been flagged before…they will tell you. If you have seen things written about him online then I would heed that advice and stay away.

    As for the rental scam that was running, I discussed it in my blog, to which these responses are posted. You can re-read it to understand the nature of the scam. If you need any other information I advise you contact Craigslist customer service. They are very diligent about these scams and want to prevent them from posting on their site.



  10. C Carabba on April 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Just curious, what was the rental scam that was posted on Craigslist? It has been removed. I reserved a unit in San Jose Del Cabo at a condo complex called La Jolla. I’ve spoken with the owner and it sounds very legit but something in my gut is telling me otherwise since I’ve seen several negative postings about a unit that my same guy apparently owns. And he is in the San Diego area. In my case it is for only 3 days so not much $. Please let me know. Thanks.



  11. Maggie on March 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for this posting on Craiglist scams. I am looking for a rental and ran across what seems to be a scam as you described. I filed a complaint at your website you supplies. It sounded to good to me, but hopefully someone doesn’t fall for this scam!

    http://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/apa/1662635270.html



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