If you’re looking to rent a townhome, apartment or house, you might want to be extra cautious with Craigslist ads.
A new report finds the site fails to identify more than half of rental scam listings.
Kim Nelson, the property manager of Meadowbrook Townhomes, has had a lot of interest from prospective renters in a two bed, two bath townhome in Sioux Falls.
“There were so many people who were driving by,” Nelson said.
However, some of the people who have asked about the property are a little confused.
“I thought I had just put a typo in the ad,” Nelson said.
After Nelson had a few people say the property was listed for $600 a month on Craiglist, she headed online to double check her ad. It was correct by listing the property for around $1000 a month, but she found another listing for the same townhome.
“I feel really horrible that they’re using our house to do this,” Nelson said.
After finding out about the scam, Nelson decided to contact the person behind it. He says he lives in Texas.
“They say they are looking for really nice, honest, reliable residents to rent their home while they’re in Texas,” Nelson said.
The scammer then emails an application and asks Nelson to send a deposit and pay stubs.
“Craigslist is a hot bed for people who are looking to take advantage of people,” Jessie Schmidt with the Better Business Bureau said.
Schmidt says you should never wire anyone money or put money on a prepaid card. Also, be on the lookout for deals that are too good to be true.
“Search for the exact same property you have out on Craigslist, or search that picture on Google images. If it’s out there multiple times, you may see the exact same apartment for rent in a different city,” Schmidt said.
Meanwhile, Nelson has flagged the scammer’s ad and got it removed from Craigslist.
“So hopefully no one loses money on the deal,” Nelson said.
Schmidt says she also talked to a local family recently who almost fell for a rental scam on a vacation home.
The original version of this story was posted here