Renter Beware!

Homer renters, please please be careful of rental advertisements on Craigslist and other sites. There are a few scammers out there who are trying to con people into providing deposits on homes that aren’t actually for rent.

They’re even scamming people on places that ARE for rent, making it hard to for would-be renters to know what’s legit.

It happened to us when we were trying to rent our place before we left for New Zealand. I saw a fake rental ad for my house on Craigslist and I replied. I had an interesting e-mail conversation with someone who asked that I send money to their account to secure the rental. I asked when I could move into the place, the scammer said 24 hours. I asked about the people currently living there (I was living there) and he assured me that the current tenants would be out in 24 hours. Trust me, I was not going to be out of my house in 24 hours. I called his bluff and reported it to the police.

There’s a house on Lincoln for sale by owner. Someone’s posted a fake Craigslist ad and made up a story about having to go to Florida for a family emergency. He’s asking people to wire money to secure the rental. Luckily one of the interested renters had the idea to phone a realtor and confirm who the owner of the property is and try and get more information.

We found out it was a scam artist at work. Luckily she hadn’t wired money but in talking to the owner, it sounds like someone else did.

Be careful out there, Renters. If you’re in doubt about the legitimacy of a rental, call a local Realtor. We’ll either have some advice for you or we might be able to track down the actual renter for you.

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