Craigslist Rent Scam In Southern California

By
Real Estate Agent with North Orange County CA Real Estate Specialists BRE# 01277795

RENTAL PROPERTY SCAM ON CRAIGSLISTThe word scam written in red on the computer keyboard

Renters beware! There's a big rental property scam on Craigslist right now, and the thieves are getting potential tenants to send them thousands of dollars for a bogus lease.

I've received an exorbitant amount of calls for rental units this year, but I've noticed an alarming trend over the past several weeks. Many of these calls are from concerned, potential renters who have seen a property listed on my website, via the MLS, and have seen the same property listed for lease on Craigslist, for much less money. So far I've received calls regarding this Craigslist rental scam for both homes and condos for rent in Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County. And, although this seems to be far reaching, the callers all have a similar story to tell.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CRAIGSLIST RENTAL PROPERTY SCAM

  • The person posting the bogus ad for a rental unit on Craigslist claims to be the owner.
  • The property they're pretending to rent is actually listed on the MLS, and is available for lease, but at a higher monthly rate than what the scammer is advertising. I've checked out several lease listings, and they have been between $300 to $700 more on the MLS than what the scammer lists the property for on Craigslist.
  • The scammer uses the actual name of the property owner, and has clearly done their homework, in an effort to make this Craigslist rent scam look legitimate.
  • When questioned regarding the difference in price shown on the MLS and Craigslist, the so called "owner" claims that he or she has decided not to use an agent to procure a tenant because the real estate fees are too high.
  • The Craigslist rent scammer claims that he (or she) can afford to lease their property for less money, by circumventing a real estate agent.
  • Often the Craigslist rent scammer tells potential tenants that he has taken a job in another state or country, even claiming, at times, to be a pastor! This is the excuse given, to explain why they're unable to meet in person.
  • You will be asked to send the money to the Craigslist rent scammer via Paypal, by check, money order or cashier's check.

REPORT THIS RENT SCAM ON CRAIGSLIST IMMEDIATELY

DO NOT ever send money to someone that you haven't met, especially someone that refuses to meet you at the rental property, and if you see this type of rent scam on Craigslist, please report it immediately. There is a button that you can click on, in the ad, to easily notify Craigslist of any ad that looks suspicious or appears to be a scam, so that they can investigate further and rid their site of these criminals.

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Topic:
Real Estate General Information
Location:
California
Groups:
Realestateandfunding
BananaTude
Tags:
rental property
scams
craigslist

Comments 12 New Comment

Rainmaker
636,038
Jane Grant
Temecula Homes and Murrieta Homes
Jane Grant, "Temecula Homes", Southwest Real Estate

Hi Gina:  It's happening with purchases of all different types of items also.  No consumer should ever give upfront money for anything!!!

July 24, 2012 03:07 PM
Rainer
297,079
Gina Lemos
Orange County CA Real Estate Agent
North Orange County CA Real Estate Specialists

Hi Jane,

Yes, I'm hearing that more and more. I'm also getting calls almost daily, from buyers and renters that have found these bogus listings on Craigslist, and now on Trulia as well.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Gina

July 25, 2012 05:08 PM
Anonymous #10
Anonymous
Mary Jo

Hello Gina,

Thank you for posting this report.  Your listing at 1006 Portola Ave. in Torrance, CA is part of the Craigslist scam.  I just got an email back from someone claiming to be the owner, Ben Hart,  doing missionary work in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.  I reported it on Craigslist.

Blessings,

Mary Jo

July 26, 2012 03:32 PM
Rainer
297,079
Gina Lemos
Orange County CA Real Estate Agent
North Orange County CA Real Estate Specialists

Hi Mary Jo,

Thank you, it's actually not my listing, but I do appreciate you taking the time to write to me and am SO glad to hear that you reported it! Yes, that's his M.O., he's telling everyone the same thing and I hope they catch him soon!

Have a wonderful weekend and blessings to you as well,

Gina

July 26, 2012 06:11 PM
Anonymous #12
Anonymous
Evelyn Garcia
Shannon L Bell in San Diego/Las Vegas is running a scam for a North Park rental in San Diego! Beware!
December 05, 2013 04:54 PM
Rainer
297,079

Gina Lemos

Orange County CA Real Estate Agent
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Additional Information

North Orange County and Riverside County California Real Estate Sales: Anaheim Hills - Brea - Corona - Fullerton - Norco - North Tustin - Orange - Placentia - Tustin - Villa Park - Yorba Linda