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. firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.