Beware of Real Estate Rip Offs on Craigs List

Anything suspicious to you about this Craigslist ad?  $650 / 2br – Experience the Park City lifestyle at its fullest from the top of Main (Park City, UT).  Several people from all over the U.S. looking for a rental in Park City responded to the ad.  They received the following email response:

 

“The house is very much available and it is a large 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom house. Which was formally occupied by me and my family before we left for Nigeria for a pastoral duty with the US-AID, we left for a volunteer mission together with other missionaries for a development program with the aim of developing the people of West Africa physically and spiritually as God as directed us. We wanted to sale the house initially but we later changed our mind after we discovered that we wouldn’t be spending more than 5 years here in Africa.”

The email response instructs the potential renter to complete a rental application, complete with personal information, and to send, via Western Union, first and last month’s rent.

The only problem is that the headline for the ad, along with the photo for the home, were from my internet advertising to sell this home. View Home Details.  Whoever posted the Craigslist ad does not have any ownership or connection to the home.  They were just looking for easy money.

I was contacted by several potential renters who were suspicious after they received the email response, googled the photo of the home, and found the listing.  I reported the fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Park City police.  I encouraged the people who phoned me to complain to Craigslist and as of today the ad was pulled.

Please notify your friends and family to verify a home for rent and its owners are legitimate before sending money.  If asked to send money overseas, be even more careful.  The IC3 states it receives thousands of complaints each month that they refer to law enforcement and regulatory agencies.  They recommend visiting www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com to learn more about internet fraud and scams.

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