My Listing is Also a Rental – REALLY??!!

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CalBRE License #01490977

My Listing is Also a Rental – REALLY??!!


I was quite surprised by a call from an Orange County agent recently about my listing in Emerald Lake Village, a 55+ community in Oceanside.


Not surprised that I got the call, but why the caller was ringing me.


“I’m calling about your listing at 3590 Amber Way in Oceanside.”


“Yes, how can I help you?”


He then proceeded to tell me about a family member relocating to the area from the desert who was potentially interested in purchasing but wanted to rent for until her house sold.


And then he hit me with the zinger. “I saw your rental listing on Craigslist, so I wanted to know if it was for sale or for rent.”




I didn’t place a rental ad, nor did I think my seller would have without telling me. But it took the wind out of my sails. I told him I would confirm things and let him know.


I left an urgent message for my seller and also sent a text message about the rental ad.


And then I went scouting for the ad on Craigslist.


It was immediately clear this was a scam ad.


First the title  - “$600 / 2br - lovly hoome (Oceanside CA)


3590 Amber Way in Oceanside is for sale at $279,000There were 5 photos – clearly mine from my Craigslist ad – and 1 sentence plus a partial one lifted word for word from my listing ad.


No other information. And the rental price is ridiculous in today’s market. You can’t even get a studio for that price.


Too bad the scammer isn’t smart enough to even create a simple ad title without typos.


But it did the trick – it got one agent to call me (he clearly looked it up in the MLS since the ad had no contact information). And I actually got a second call yesterday from a prospective renter. And the scammer maybe netted a couple of email addresses


The seller knew nothing about it, of course, but was curious why someone would even do such a thing. Well, you get email addresses, and potentially someone foolish enough to send $600 up front to lock in a terrific rental price


I reported it, but of course nothing has happened and the ad is still there.


I've been told by many who use Craigslist for searching for rentals that there seem to be alot of scams out there.


By the way 3590 Amber Lane in the 55+ community of Emerald Lake Village in Oceanside IS for sale at $279,000.


I couldn't agree more.


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  1. Bob Crane 09/17/2012 11:07 PM
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Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

These rental scams are pervasive here in Silicon Valley.  The problem is trying to track down when your listing shows up, if at all, and trying to track who is posting is very difficult.

Sep 18, 2012 01:23 AM #51
Glenn Freezman
Family Abstract, Inc. - Horsham, PA

You have to give thhe crooks credit, the better the laws the better the criminals.  That scam almost shut down parts of the southern NJ shore rental market.  So many folks showing up to a home that they "rented" on craigs list from absolutly noone with the rights to rent. 

Sep 18, 2012 02:56 AM #52
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Have heard several other stories similar to this out there in the world on line -- the scammers are out in force it seems.

Sep 18, 2012 03:21 AM #53
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I've been hooked by these scammers but not with a listing (since I'm an EBA), but with my own rental property.  Now I watermark all my photos.  And continued shame on Craiglists for allowing this type of thing to continue. 

Sep 18, 2012 03:21 AM #54
Shane Barker
Amerifirst Financial, INC. - Salt Lake City, UT

Great to know!  It just seems the scammers keep finding more and more ways to work people over.  Thanks for the article and the heads up on this type of scam.

Sep 18, 2012 04:18 AM #55
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX

Jeff - as much as we are all tech savvy, there are people out that that have bad intentions. We just have to be careful and educate the public.

Sep 18, 2012 04:28 AM #56
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Wallace - well I sure get why they wouldn't. These rental scams are getting more pervasive all the time. I did a quick search for HOOME (as used in the scammer's ad for my listing) and found 6 more.

Harry - part of what we can do is to make these scams as public as possible and make sure agents and the public know what is going on

Kathryn - well that certainly makes sense to me. I cannot imagine renting sight unseen or sending money off to someone who have not even talked with. Maybe they DO take calls?

Sep 18, 2012 04:30 AM #57
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I notice there are a lot of folks condemning CL for allowing this to happen, I would be more likely to blame places like Western Union who know full well that most of the money being wired to places like Nigeria are probably scams and they do nothing because funding the scams puts a commission in their pocket each time.

Sep 18, 2012 04:50 AM #58
John Fauth
Coldwell Banker King Thompson - Grove City, OH
Turning your dreams into an address!

Every time! Whenever there is a good idea like CL there is a scammer waiting to pounce on the unthinking! It would also be nice if you could stop the spam that comes back to you from people trying to scam us and using email head lines like, "I saw your add on Craigslist" or " interested in your property" you open it up and it is just a solicitation. LOL REVERSE SCAMMING. You got to give them an "A" for effort they cover both sides. Good luck to you and I hope you get the home sold.

Sep 18, 2012 06:12 AM #59
Lexa R. Montierth
NextHome Complete Realty - Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Sales Agent and Marketer

My client yesterday said she was part of a scam like that, the response was from someone saying to ignore the sign in the picture, he was with that agent, but it didn't work out and to go on their own.  Then she got an email saying that the owner, a Dr., got called unexpectedly to East Africa and to go ahead and put the check in the mail for the deposit.   This needs to be addressed by craigslist, but perhaps we as agents need to keep scanning Craigslist and flagging those that seem to be stealing pictures from MLS> 

Sep 18, 2012 06:50 AM #60
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Myrl - Well generally you have your email, for responding, in an anonymous format. The scammee responds to the ad and the scammer gets the email. Clearly the second caller did some research because there is no address or phone number.

Bob - I was surprised, too, since when you look at the ad it is SOOO obvious. And as I noted above this person is trying the same thing with multiple ads since I found 6 others with HOOME in the title here in San Diego.I think the best thing we can do is make as many aware as possible, including clients who may advertise. Plus it makes sense to search for your ads on Craigslist to see if they are showing up elsewhere.


Sep 18, 2012 07:19 AM #61
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I have had several of my listings turn up on Craigslist as rentals.  As far as I know no one lost any money.  And Craigslist had usually taken the ads down even before I had a change to see the ads.

Sep 18, 2012 07:50 AM #62
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

I am always getting calls from people asking if a particular Craigslist ad is for real.  You would think people would be more savvy, and many have gotten scammed by them.  It is just so sad that people make their living on the backs of others this way.

Sep 18, 2012 09:02 AM #63
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Yes it has happened to me. If you are putting your listings out everywhere you take the risk of having it scraped by scammers.

Sep 18, 2012 11:39 AM #64
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

It's amazing how often this is happening these days.  Word of advice for renters...DON'T LOOK for them on Craigslist!  

Sep 18, 2012 11:59 AM #65
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jeff, you can do couple of things --

1. Report spam (not sure why it did not work for you)

2. Set up a list-alert so that you are alerted when this happens.

Sep 18, 2012 02:22 PM #66
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Jeff - I've had this happen with my listings before. One even had the audacity to recommend they enter through the side gate and peek in the windows. It wasnt vacant!
Sep 18, 2012 03:10 PM #67

Craigslist is dominated by Nigerians in every catagory.  I posted an ad in men for women and got over 100 replies; 4 from real women the rest from Nigerians posing as local women as I found out time after time. You post an ad in any category and your info is copied and your ad is flagged for removal in a matter of minutes then your exact same ad is posted the next day by a nigerian in another US city. It should be renamed Nigerianlist. I consider most craigslist ads to be scams and avoid it like the plague. Real estate is another area to scam people.

Sep 18, 2012 09:31 PM #68
Andrea Curtis United Country Premier Properties Certified Military Relocation Professional
United CountryPremier Properties - Harker Heights, TX

Talk to your local board and the news.  We have this happen here off and on.  when it does our local board gets it out to us and out to the news.  If they have posted your ad info they have posted another Realtor's ad in your area.  Have a great week!

Sep 19, 2012 06:30 AM #69
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jeff, this has also happened to me several times.  It's really frustrating that Craigslist is either very slow to or simply make no effort to remove the scam rental listing...I get at least a call or two every month from someone asking about a property for rent that they found on Craigslist.

Sep 22, 2012 08:54 AM #70
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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