A post by one of our IREAA members has certainly caught our attention, it reads:
Recently, I was encountered by a situation relating to one of my client's "For Sale" listings, that I had posted
on Craig's list. It's a long story, but I'll try to sum it up.
Someone had taken the post that I created and changed the text to read that this was a rental property with a very low rent, changed the "Reply To" email address slightly so that it still resembled my client's email address (they used a Yahoo Email) and reposted this ad in the Rental Homes section. People began to respond to the ad.
One woman, who thought the reply she received looked a bit fishy, decided to dig further and found my clients real ad and email address. She forwarded us the response she received from the con artisit to her "request for more info". The message was designed to look as if it was coming from a legitimat real estate agent, my client, and spoke about how "her client", the person renting out the home, was a Roman Catholic Priest and away in Nigeria on a mission. It stated that she was left in charge of renting the property out to a "nice person like yourself" and the rent was so low because he wanted to make sure he got good tenants.
As I was in the process of investigating this with Craig's List, about a half hour later my client called back to tell me someone was at the door of the property (her listing client's home) looking to move in. They had paid someone an amount of money, equal to the rent, for immediate occupancy in the home.
Now I know you'll say, "what kind of idiot would just give a stranger money for a home they never saw", just like I said. That's not the point really, we don't know the circumstances. People go to desperate measures and take chances when they are in certain situations, especially if it comes to putting a roof over their families head.
My client was extremely concerned about her name and reputation being tarnished. We decided against taking all listings out of Craig's list since this could have happened on any of the internet listing sites, even the public MLS. I now check the listings daily on these sites and have set up Google Alerts for all the properties. If I had a Google Alert set up for that one I, most likely, would have seen the rental ad when it was posted.