Craigslist...A Cautionary Tale...

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX CAPITAL VA #0225210305

Magnifying Glass over FraudOkay, most agents probably know about this scam, so this is not really for you. For those who aren't tuned in and especially if you use Craigslist to market your properties, you may need to know that your listing information may be hijacked (photos & description) and posted as a rental property. In my recent occurrence, they also provided a Yahoo email address that included the actual name of the homeowners, which they obviously got from the tax records. That seemed the most disturbing to me.

What they are doing is attempting to collect rent deposits, signing fake leases via electronic means, sending keys through the mail and then the 'renter' shows up at said property ready to move in only to find they have been scammed. Not a happy day if everything you own is in the moving truck in front of the house.

A couple of noteworthy things to mention. The monthly rental amount seems to be less than the market would actually warrant, which is a bit of a giveaway. Of course the 'renter' should be more cautious about sending large amounts of money to a strangers on mere trust, just because they seem legit. 

Obviously the most harm are to those people looking for a place to live, but my seller was rather upset when a gentleman showed up at her door because he saw the rental ad and was interested. She felt a little victimized. 

I have been told that the FBI has been involved in some of these cases, but I cannot confirm that. It is just another day in the life of being on this planet. I did my part and reported it, but perhaps I will disclose this to future sellers up front just in case. I do like to use Craigslist and I get showings from it and I like to post my open houses there. 

Posted by

Tia Stanley - RE/MAX CAPITAL

"Simply the best home marketing you can get!"


Need A Great Realtor in Williamsburg, Yorktown or New Kent Virginia? Let me Google one for you!


Comments (3)

Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Tia - I have heard ab0ut this scam. There are some others on Craiglist. The "creativity" of crooks is simply amazing

Feb 14, 2012 01:49 AM
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

That's one reason I've been reluctant to use Craig's List to market.  I have heard that WaterMarking your photos helps to cut down on the problem.

Feb 14, 2012 02:44 AM
Tia Stanley
RE/MAX CAPITAL - Williamsburg, VA
...focused on people & the places they love!

It is amazing how creative crooks can be isn't it? I like the watermarking idea. That seems like an excellent and simple solution. In the past I have not watermarked my photos because of MLS and non-branding guidelines, however, I could create an additional 'set' of pictures for that purpose. 

I hate to just give up using Craigslist and it is not like they can't go to Trulia, Zillow or dozens of other sites to 'steal' pictures and descriptions. 


Feb 14, 2012 03:24 AM