HotPads.com and FOR RENT SCAMMERS

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time Licensed State of Oregon
http://actvra.in/FKv

Scammers are using HotPads.com and posting real estate agents' listings . . . FOR RENT!!

In  the past week, I have had three separate inquiries on the same home that's currently listed FOR SALE in the Portland Metro Area.  

Unfortunately, the inquiries were not from buyers interested, but all three inquires were about the FOR RENT status of the property.  

The three people who called me to inquire about the property told me they found the home FOR RENT on HotPads.com

The property, allegedly FOR RENT, is being displayed on HotPads.com but it is a validly listed property, listed by a licensed real estate agent, here in town.  The property FOR RENT on HotPads.com is being used in a scam.

[Related Article: Rental Scams And HOW TO AVOID THEM!]

The property that is currently listed, and illegally advertised FOR RENT on HotPads.com is a 4 bedroom / 2.1 bath, 3,395 sq. ft. home on 1/2 an acre in a very desireable location.  The current list price is close to $600,000. 

The property being used for the scam that is being advertised FOR RENT on HotPads.com is advertsed FOR RENT at  . . . $1,000 per month. 

TAKE THE QUIZ -- RENTAL SCAMS AND HOW TO DETECT THEM -- ARE YOU BEING SCAMMED?

There is NO WAY this property would rent for $1,000 -- and a few savvy renters are calling me when they've found the IDX listing.  For Rent portals, such as HotPads.com, seem to be full of scammers that use these rental site portals and run FOR RENT scams of listed property. 

The contact to these FOR RENT scammers goes directly through HotPads.com 

From: HotPads
To: johnf.emmert@yahoo.com  THIS IS THE SCAMMER!!
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 5:44 AM
Subject: Lead for 123 Anystreet Drive, Beaverton, OR 97007

Hello John F Emmert,

A HotPads user has contacted you regarding "Incredible coveted setting"

I'm sure there are several thousand -- tens of thousands -- of BOGUS FOR RENT properties being displayed on websites providing rental information and HotPads.com seems to be the scammers' portal du jour.  

It's a numbers game with these For Rent scammers and they have found a portal at HotPads.com.

The scams are SO bogus sounding (to the majority of people) that the scammers use them on purpose. 

Why? 

Because the scammers aren't as stupid as we think!! 

I read an article about the psychology behind it.  If the scam sounds too bogus, the majority of people WILL NOT respond.  WHEW -- thank GOD, we'd all hate to see the flood of inquiries in the scammers email on a "legitimate" sounding scam.  Gosh, the poor scammers would have a flood of emails to read before they found a REAL VICTIM, and a TON of work to do.  So they purposely send that "I'm on a mission in Africa, fighting AIDS/HIV with my wife and 3 kids.  All I want it someone nice to take care of my property, blah, blah, blah -- send me $1,000 and then I'll send you the keys." 

If someone falls for that . . . BINGO they have a victim -- the hyneas pull down the unsuspecting.

This is a DELIBERATE process and it weeds out the most gullible of the gullible.  And when the "tenant" SENDS the money overseas to the "owner" -- the scammers have hustled an easy target and that's all they needed -- just one.

Posted by

Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

 

Representing Buyers in the Portland Metro Real Estate Market | Clackamas Multnomah and Washington Counties | Since 1999

Carla Muss-Jacobs, REALTOR®, ABR, CEBA, ePro
Principal Broker/Owner

Direct: 503-810-7192 | BuyersAgentPortland.com | Carla@BuyersAgentPortland.com

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Evelyn Kennedy 08/01/2012 02:40 PM
  2. The Marcus Rice Team 08/01/2012 08:10 PM
Topic:
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Location:
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Groups:
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Diary of a Realtor
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Tags:
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Rainmaker
650,960
Evelyn Kennedy
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Carla:

The scammers are always looking new ways to get money from people.  First Craigslist then Hotpads.  What next. 

August 01, 2012 02:38 PM #1
Ambassador
758,641
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

This is a huge problem...many of these listings are actually foreclosed on homes.  I had one lady call me about a home through the IDX from a craigslist ad that had it listed for rent...actually, I think that's how I ended up with one of my listings lol :)...so Thank You Scammer!  

Suggested

August 01, 2012 02:39 PM #2
Rainmaker
15,873
Peter Matyko
Keller Williams Realty Advantage - Oviedo, FL
Keller Williams Realty

Wow that is great to know.  If only these people put their talents to good use.  Wow what a better place we would all be in.  No matter what there is always someone looking a quick buck sort to speak.  How unfortunate.

August 01, 2012 02:41 PM #3
Ambassador
897,427
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Carla, this gets old fast. What will be next... nevermind, don't answer that. Thanks for the heads up.

August 01, 2012 02:42 PM #4
Anonymous
Anonymous
Paul from HotPads

Hi Carla - As you pointed out, this is a big problem for all housing search sites. We take fraud seriously and have a number of systems in place to find and delete as much of it as possible. (http://daily.hotpads.com/hotpads_daily/2012/03/attacking-fraud.html). 

Most of the suspicious listings on our site originate on third party listing services. It's a shame others are not as proactive about stopping fraud, it's frustrating for everyone involved. 

If you send me the address of this fraudulent listing, I would be happy to share with the community where it originated. You can reach us at info@hotpads.com.

Best, 

Paul

HotPads.com

August 01, 2012 03:00 PM #5
Ambassador
1,326,457
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Carla,

Look on the bright side...real estate is keeping so many scammers employed.

Rich

August 01, 2012 03:28 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,267,262
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Hi Evelyn . . . yes, the scammers will try anything and do.

Hey Brenda -- I had one of my own rentals used in a scam.  Alert Craigslist readers/tenants notified me -- but I didn't place the ad and I could take it down.  I forgot what happened, but hopefully no one sent money to the bogus "landlord"

Hi Peter . . . thanks for the comments!

Hey Andrea -- I, honesty, don't know what will be next.  YIKES {teeth shattering}

Hi Paul . . . thanks for the comment.  It's a shame that your portal is being used by scammers and because I had a flurry of inquiries over one "rental" I thought that the "too good to be true" was at work.  We don't have rentals advertised on the RMLS -- real estate agents here in the Portland Metro area don't work rentals.  Rentals are not listed in our RMLS ('cause we don't work 'em.)  So, rental sites like yours, absolutely feed a need in our consumer rental market for finding rental housing; agents just don't work with tenants here.  It's a shame that the scammers post legitimate FOR SALE listings on rental sites.  I think all rental sites should have a CYA and this is a good little quiz . . . up to the consumer to utilize it.  TAKE THE QUIZ -- RENTAL SCAMS AND HOW TO DETECT THEM -- ARE YOU BEING SCAMMED?  Something like this quiz as a pop up when a consumer hits "inquiry" might be a good tip off to a (possible) rip off?!?  Consumers can turn it off if they've taken it, but until they do . . . CYA.

Hey Richard -- absolutely.

 

August 01, 2012 04:00 PM #7
Ambassador
1,505,496
Tammy Lankford
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)

There are always people out there up to know good.  We both know some folks like that.   I haven't seen this hit hotpads in our area yet. I guess being rural our scammers are the copy cats hit the city last year.  We just started having craigslist rental scammers.

August 01, 2012 04:27 PM #8
Ambassador
1,427,695
Anna Banana Kruchten
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Real Estate Agent, CRB, CRS 602-380-4886

Carla thanks for this post.  I've had a few emails lately regarding a listing from hotpads.com and I wondered....huh?  Now I know what's up.  I haven't gotten any weird phone calls but I'm sure that's a matter of time.  Like Andrea said....what will be next......nevermind. Crazy is crazy.

August 01, 2012 05:36 PM #9
Ambassador
627,230
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties Realty - Pineville, LA
Your Pineville Louisiana Agent

I have the same thing going on at Craig's List. An "African Missionary" is stealing my listing pictures and making a for rent ad. Some of the most gullible are sending this fellow 1,000 bucks overseas without touring the home!

August 01, 2012 05:57 PM #10
Rainer
276,790
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

I have had this happen on Craigs List.  If prospective tenants would just make sure that they do their due diligence, they could avoid 99.9% of the scams. (Like meeting the landlord in person!)

August 02, 2012 04:10 AM #11
Ambassador
1,902,414
Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Pretty cool that a guy fom Hotpads.com responded to this post so quickly.  I had this happen to me with a rental listing that got jacked on craigslist. It is beyond aggravating.  It is criminal but the Internet seems to be the wild west.  No one has domain or interest in chasing down this stuff.  It is small potatos to authorities, but can be devastating to those scammed.

August 02, 2012 05:59 AM #12
Rainmaker
255,314
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Windermere, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

I had a tenant not return a key and then ran an ad on craigs list to "rent" my $1200 rental for $500.  A potential victim accidentally called me to beg me to put her first on the list for this bargain.

Long story short, I filed a police report and they did nothing...

Eve in Orlando

August 02, 2012 04:01 PM #13
Rainer
122,144
Roger Newton
Roger Newton Real Estate - North Plains, OR

If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.

If the owner of any product is out of the country, it is most likely not true.

This is one of the reasons that most banks do not want the contractors lockbox codes to be given out.  FNMA used to have 1 code on all of their properties.  They changed this so that each property has a unique lockbox code.

August 07, 2012 07:47 AM #14
Anonymous
Anonymous
John Doherty

Hi Carla - John from HotPads here. We're so sorry to hear that this happened. As you said, there are a lot of scammers out there in the real estate space.

We work very hard to fight spam on our site, and created this to help people know if something is a scam or not - http://hotpads.com/pages/scams.htm. We also have resources dedicated to fighting spam internally.

John

November 22, 2013 05:40 AM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
Angela
I have only recently discovered hot pads today, and I was immediately bombarded with "missionaries" "out of town" bs. I will not be using this site after all. Im glad I decided to research scams on this site. Thank you for the helpful info.
December 09, 2013 03:16 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,267,262
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

@Angela . . . thanks for the comment!  And yup, the out of town missoniaries, oy vey!  Try this out too, TAKE THE RENTAL SCAM QUIZ

December 09, 2013 09:38 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,267,262
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Hi John . . . it's a pity when these scammer use legitimate outfits to do the hustle!  As I said in my post, Hotpads seems to be the scammers site du jour.  

Thank you for posting the link to report a suspected scam.  

December 09, 2013 09:41 PM #18
Anonymous
Anonymous
John Doherty - HotPads
Carla - It is indeed sad! We are working very hard to fight spam on the site and we are succeeding. That said, it is a long fight. Many of the scammers will use a free tool that syndicates to a lot of sites, so the same listings are all around the Internet. It's very unfortunate and a problem to solve in an opaque industry like rentals.
December 10, 2013 09:14 AM #19
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
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Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner

Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results
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