Yuma, Arizona - The Craigslist Property scam has resurfaced again. This is where the scammer copies pictures and descriptions of property listed on a realtor page and advertises it on Craigslist for rent or sale. They get you to wire them a deposit and your money is lost and they are on to a new listing.
Here are some things to remember if you are looking for a home to rent or buy online:
· The price is too good to be true. Often these listings are fake and designed to pull you in with the lure of a "fantastic deal." Check local prices for apartments and houses to see what the going rate is.
· Payment options. When it comes to Craigslist, “wire transfer”, “money order”, “Western Union”, “Prepaid Visa” and “Moneygram” are all absolute red flag words. When you send money through these forms of payment, it is essentially impossible to get your money back. That’s why these forms of wire transfers are a scammer’s method of choice.
· Always verify the owner. Google the property online and see what comes up. This is a good way to see if it’s listed through an agency or if it’s listed at all.
· Beware of contact through email or text only. The scammer will avoid meeting you in person or talking to you on the phone.
· Never give personal information upfront. The most typical scam is them asking you to submit a rental application before you view the property. This is done in an effort to get your personal information, such as social security and bank account numbers.
· Beware of the middleman scam. They'll often claim the owner is out of the country and has trusted the place to them. This middleman will attempt to collect rent, a security deposit and various fees and then will quickly disappear with your money.
· Lastly but very important, ask to see the property in person before you do anything. Make sure the property really is for rent.
The bottom line is do your homework. Check and recheck if need be to protect yourself and your money. If it doesn’t seem right and it doesn’t feel right then move on to another listing