Skip to main content
Business TipsNews

Craigslist Real Estate Scams Rise

By July 22, 2020November 14th, 2022No Comments

It’s not a new issue, but it certainly is a bad one: real estate scammers on Craigslist.

COVID-19 has not only reawakened “porch pirates” (who typically steal packages during the holidays), but inspired fraudsters to try and exploit mortgage forbearance futures.

Recently, Scottsdale REALTORS® member Jolene Miller discovered that one of her vacant, for-sale listings had been illegally posted on Craigslist as a rental property.

Miller was tipped off by another agent whose out-of-state clients asked about the online ad, but it was too late.

Someone posing as a property manager had broken into the Norterra-near home, showed it to multiple, prospective renters and collected their deposit fees before disappearing.

She notified police, had the locks “reset” by a locksmith, put a lock on the backyard gate and posted signs saying the property was not for rent.

Could your property be next?

Craigslist does not verify whether the person listing a rental property is authorized to do so.

If your listing is scammed, be prepared to do three things straight away:

  1. Notify local police and secure the property,
  2. Report the scam to Craigslist and ask that the listing be removed,
  3. File an online complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

One of the best ways to catch a Craigslist con artist is to monitor your own listings by creating a Google Alert. It’s relatively easy.

  1. Go to Google Alerts
  2. In the box at the top, enter the address you want to follow
  3. Click Show options to change settings like:
    • How often you get notifications
    • The part of the world you want info from
    • What accounts get the alert
  4. Click Create Alert to receive emails with matching search results.

And just to be safe, please review 10 Tips for Holding a Safe Open House because that fraudster who broke into a vacant house, could be squatting in one of your properties.

Let’s be careful out there.

Related stories:
Rental Scams Spiking in Phoenix (Sep. 2, 2020)
COVID-19 Rental Scam Warning (July 13, 2020)