Craigslist Scam Alert in Tulsa, Oklahoma!

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

Warning!  There are scammers using real, but vacant houses for sale on Craigslist in Tulsa, Oklahoma and they're out to take your hard earned rent money!

Apparently there is a real estate scam on Craigslist in the greater Tulsa, Oklahoma area whereby people are using real listings in order to cash in from unsuspecting people.

Craigslist scam alert

As I understand it, what they do is gather the information from the Craigslist listing along with a few of the pictures.  They use only vacant listings to make the scam work.  They then make a fake ad saying that the house is for rent.  This ad might be placed on Craigslist, but here in our area typically shows up in the newspaper.

ScammerOnce someone responds to the fake ad, the scammer will tell the person to go by the property and to look in the windows because he or she isn't available to show the house.  They then tell the suspect how much the rent deposits and rent is per month, etc.  If the person decides to rent the house, the scammer has them meet them somewhere where he or she collects the money and gives the person a fake key.

You know what happens from there.  The person goes to the house.  The key won't work.  The scammer is never to be heard from again. 

I first saw this on the news in our area a while ago, but they didn't mention that the scammers were getting their info from Craigslist listings.  Then last week, our corporate office sent out a note telling us to be careful with Craigslist listings for this very reason.  Wow.  I'm telling you, with the creative ways that people come up with to rip off others, you'd think they could put that brain power to better use.

So, if you're looking for a rent house in the greater Tulsa, Oklahoma area and the home is vacant, be sure you use common sense.

1. If the landlord will not meet you at the property, red flags should go up all over the place.

2. If the property has a real estate sign in the front yard, call the company or listing agent, whose name is on the sign and ask if the house is for rent.  Agents have no clue what is going on because you can be sure that the scammer isn't telling us what he or she is up to!

3. Never, never agree to rent something without getting a recommendation about the property and/or landlord from someone else, like previous tenants.

4. Finally, if you think you are being scammed, report the situation immediately!

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Bob Haywood
Bob Haywood
Owasso, Oklahoma REALTOR®

(918) 272-7272

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Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

This is always going on with Craigslist. I suggest all agents set up google alerts on there listings so they know if its being posted anywhere on the net.

Aug 18, 2009 06:59 AM #1
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

Laura, excellent idea!  Thanks for the suggestion!

Aug 18, 2009 07:00 AM #2
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Bob, I'm sure if it is happening in Tulsa it is or going to happen everywhere else. Thanks for the heads up. Laura, good idea about setting up a Google Alert for your listings.

Aug 18, 2009 07:14 AM #3
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

The bad part is sometimes they don't use the address. Lots of sign care will also help.

Aug 18, 2009 08:33 AM #4
David Holzmann
Holzmann & Associates - Mountain View, CA

Excellent warning, Bob!

Question: Where, or To Whom should the prospective Renters report scams?  (It would be helpful if you included that information in the last line of your post.)

Aug 18, 2009 10:48 AM #5
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

David, good point.  I'll go add it...

Aug 18, 2009 11:08 AM #6
Claude Cross
Homes By Cross, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Homes For Sale

Bob - Your major point is that renters need to verify who they are dealing with. Most of what is on Craig's list is legit. But as it all things Caveat Emptor should be at the forefront . You have some solid points here

Aug 18, 2009 11:38 AM #7
Cheryl Torres

Bob, very good point. For agents who list properties on Craigslist regularly, Faceified is a service that can help you establish your reputation and stand out on Cragistlist. Request reviews and testimonials from real customers, display your reputation in your Craiglist listings (and anywhere else on the web), manage your reputation with total control, and never again let disgruntled individuals ruin your reputation. It is free, simple to use, and can be an important piece of your business. Check it out:

Jan 18, 2011 08:47 PM #8
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