Be weary when surfing Craigslist for rental properties. Many of them are scams!
Many rental properties posted on Craigslist are in fact fake, not only that, but they are houses that are listed for sale or for rent on other websites such as Zillow or REALTOR.com. Scammers are taking information available on other sites and spinning it into something it surely is not. This is something prevalent in our area, but also in other areas throughout the US and has been for at least the past year and a half or so. How can you tell if a Craigslist post is a scam? One of the very first, telltale signs is if the instructions say, upon approval, the security deposit must be mailed.
In one scam, the interested parties are instructed to fill out an application. Then a phone call is received informing the applicants they have been approved. They’re told the next step is to mail in a security deposit to secure their spot(s).
How else might you know if what you’re looking at is in fact a scam?
- Is it to good to be true; is the ‘price’ or monthly rent low for the area?
- Does the description talk about the owner traveling or gone out of town for an extended period of time? Is there an elaborate story in the description or in any correspondence?
- Are there grammatical errors or funny wording in any correspondence or in the description on the post?
- Does the posting state you can look at the neighborhood and outside the house, but you cannot go inside?
- Is your social security number asked for via phone?
- The instructions say to go to a local drugstore, purchase a gift card and relay the numbers to someone via phone.
- You’re told the keys will be mailed to you.
- The instructions say to wire the money/ security deposit.
- There is only one picture of the property, or no pictures at all.