Craigslist Scam Strikes Again - Beware of Craigslist Ads For Rent - Ozark Mo Real Estate

Real Estate Broker/Owner with RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX 1999033519

Craigslist Scam Strikes Again -Beware of Craigslist Ads For Rent - Ozark Mo Real Estate

Several times throughout the year, I've received calls from consumers asking questions about one of our listings that they found on Craigslist for rent.

This scammer is taking the photos of my listing off the MLS, researching the address to find the seller's name, then sets up a bogus email address to be contacted.

Today, I received another call from a consumer letting me know they drove by one of my listings for rent, talked with a gentleman from my team and was getting ready to send the first months rent and deposit......a total of $1800.  We immediately tagged the ad and turned in the information to the local police.  Knowing they might have given too much personal information, we  worked together to hopefully get this guy blocked from the internet.

If you are looking for rentals in Ozark Mo, here's a few tips to know you are working with the seller direct:

1.  Never pay money to someone without seeing the house first.  If the home is occupied, with a real estate sign in the yard, call the agent to verify the home is for rent......or sale.

2.  Be aware of email scams that want all your personal information and request rents and deposits in advance.....with a promise of sending the keys later.

3.  If you think you've been scammed, contact the police as soon as possible.


The consumer was smart enough to contact us before they lost their money today.  With the help of the police, we might just catch this guy.

Posted by

Springfield Mo Real Estate

Kay Van Kampen / Rhonda Kay Jones

The "KAY" Team

Kay Direct:  417-839-4534

Rhonda Direct:  417-880-4762

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The "KAY" Team services the following towns in the Springfield area:  Springfield, Ozark, Nixa, Rogersville, Republic, Clever, Billings, Willard, Battlefield, Sparta, Highlandville, Spokane, Marshfield, Ash Grove, Strafford, Fordland, and Greene, Christian and Webster Counties in Missouri.

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Kay Van Kampen | RE/MAX House of Brokers. Springfield Mo 65804




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  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 12/13/2010 10:40 PM
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Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

You have to be careful anytime you do anything with craigslist.  Its a great service but you always need extra protection.

Dec 13, 2010 02:40 PM #1
Pamela Stangler
Lisa Ferringo & Assoc., Coldwell Banker Schmitt - Cudjoe Key, FL
Florida Keys

Craig's List is a tough place to do business.  No accountability!  I was looking for cars a year or so ago and came across someone that tried to get all kinds of money out of me prior to even seeing the car.  Sorry, I'm not that stupid.  Not all of these scams are so easy to see.   Thanks for the heads-up post!

Dec 13, 2010 02:41 PM #2
David Buck
Harcourts Island Properties - Honolulu, HI

I know Kay, it's getting scarry.  They also price rents way under market value to create a feeding frenzy.  I've noticed they'll post $1200 rent on a place that would normally go for $3-5k/mo.  It's like the old saying: "when something looks too good to be true...."

Dec 13, 2010 02:41 PM #3
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate


Yes it is exactly the reason why I do not put anything on craigslist.  I have had this happen to several of my listings in the past.  

Dec 13, 2010 02:47 PM #4
Lori Cain
eXp Realty - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

This exact thing happened to me one month ago. My Sellers felt violated and I was madder than hell. The idiot priced the rent so low, EVERYONE called me to verify and one person forwarded me the e-mail that he sent - asking for personal information for his 'rental application.'

I will say that Craigslist took the post down immediately after I flagged and reported it.

And, I didn't post my listing on Craigslist either - the imposter stole my verbiage from Trulia.

Dec 13, 2010 02:52 PM #5
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

This is very serious.

So far, I was limited to only scam emails to my email address...this is...really serious - and may be I'll stop posting on CL.

Dec 13, 2010 02:58 PM #6
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

We've had similar things happen in the Las Vegas area. It's sad that people prey on others who are just looking for a place to live.

Dec 13, 2010 03:04 PM #7
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Kay, We've had similar happen with one of our listings outside of Cincinnati.  They even set up a fake email similar to Liz's to capture the buyer's inquiries.  As far as we know, no damage done to anyone, caught and removed from Craigslist within a day.

Dec 13, 2010 04:16 PM #8
Rita Fong
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 - Marion, AR
Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale

Kay, that is horrible.  I have heard of many Craiglist nightmares before.  This guy is sure brave enough to show up at the property to get the victims money and information.  I hope the police gets him.  

Dec 13, 2010 04:19 PM #9
Maureen Fukumoto
Help-U-Sell Realty Pro - Mililani, HI

In Hawaii last year a seller came home from vacation to find a young family living in her home.  They were the victim of one of these Craigslist scams.  Theyy had sent the 1 month rent + 1 month deposit to someone out of the country and were told by that person that they had lost the keys and the tenant could change the locks.

They lived in the home for about two weeks before the rightful owner came back to occupy her home.  Police were called, the young family had to move out and it was a bad day for everyone.

I no longer list properties as vacant or show pictures of a vacant homes online. The pics are clipped from or another website and they can see when the home is vacant.  Sad.

Dec 13, 2010 04:30 PM #10
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I blame MLS boards who do NOT ALLOW LARGE watermarks on listing photos because of IDX.....I no longer put rental listings in our MLS AND I watermark all of my on-line photos BOLDLY!

Dec 13, 2010 10:39 PM #11
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

What a shame Kay! I hope you nail this loser and he gets sent to the slammer.

Dec 13, 2010 11:59 PM #12
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Thanks everyone for your comments.  I'm going to find a way to tag my listings without breaking any of our MLS rules.  The ad has been removed and we're going to check daily to see what this guy does next.

Dec 14, 2010 12:42 AM #13
Jim Springer - Foreclosures Springfield MO
RE/MAX Solutions - Highlandville, MO

Kay, I am just glad they called you direct.  I post on CL all the time and have had great success.  I make sure to meet potential renters face to face.

Dec 14, 2010 04:43 AM #14
Maureen Fukumoto
Help-U-Sell Realty Pro - Mililani, HI


Can you tell us how you did that?  The program I use only places the watermark in the lower corner where it is easily cropped off. I'm sure we'd all appreciate the info.

Dec 14, 2010 12:14 PM #15
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Kay  In my humble opinion Craigs List shoud be shut down - I do believe it is now beyond control

Dec 14, 2010 03:12 PM #16
Kathryn Acciari
Century 21 Real Estate - Shrewsbury, MA
Brand Ambassador and Business Coach

Thank you for sharing this, Kay.  I have received many spam emails due to my craigslist ads, but nothing like this.  Cyber crimes are most frightening and frustrating.  We all need to watch our backs when it comes to online ads.

Dec 20, 2010 04:10 AM #17
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Kathryn, I'm almost ready to stop advertising on's not worth the problems.

Dec 20, 2010 01:58 PM #18
Springfield Homeowner

Found your comments while "googling" Craigslist rental scams.  In response to your comments about Craigslist, I've never used it because of its reputation.  I listed a home for sale in Springfield just after the first of April.  Last week, the realtor and I met to review an offer that I accepted.  During the meeting, the realtor asked about a Craigslist ad for the the address and with the exact description that people had called him about.  Of course, I hadn't attempted to rent the home.  I couldn't find anything on Craigslist and hoped it was a mistaken address or such.  However, this last Saturday, a group described as "college kids" showed up knocking on doors and looking in windows.  No one was home and the incident was reported by neighbors that asked them who they were looking for.  They gave the "missionary gone to Africa" story and were hopeful that they could rent the home.  Now I'm concerned.  First, will I be lucky enough to be there if someone shows up in the future and get some details so that I can halt this scam?  Second, will the new owner (it's under contract) find out and back out of the deal even though we're totally innocent of any involvement?

To answer your first thought, yes, I called the Springfield police.  They were kind enough, but completely disinterested.  I thought about preparing a sign for the door stating the house is absolutely not for rent contrary to any ad found anywhere.  However, not certain if it would scare off the buyer.  As realtors, I hope you'll consider my story and think of how to deal with these scams from the viewpoint of your potential clients and the discomfort if can cause for them.  

Let me offer one bit of advice.  After conversing with my realtor about internet related tasks that real estate companies use to do business and the problems you encounter, have you ever heard of IT managers?  It appears that many of you are wide open to anyone that wants to lift a listing, all of the details and present it as their own.


Apr 24, 2012 01:05 PM #19
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