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Fake apartment listings part of housing scams


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Published 2011-03-01T19:29:00Z”/>

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Bryan Clendon

Crooks working outside the U.S. are targeting perspective tenants on the website Craigslist in an attempt to scam them out of their hard earned dollars, Mikayla Teeter explained.

Teeter, a data entry supervisor for Chico State’s financial services, had recent correspondence with some scammers when looking for a place to rent.

When Teeter sent an e-mail indicating interest in a rental listing, the poster sent an e-mail with the property address and an application, she said. The e-mail also said they were in Nigeria for a conference and would be gone for two to three years. After initial correspondence, they sent her an e-mail explaining the method she would use to send the $900 security deposit through a delivery service.

Before committing any money, Teeter drove by the property address and saw a sign indicating that Sheraton Real Estate Management managed the property, she said. She called Sheraton and notified them of the Craigslist post and discovered that the Craigslist posters had attempted to scam her out of her money.

This type of activity is not uncommon, and happens a few times per year, said Dan Herbert, president of Sheraton Real Estate Management.

Usually, Sheraton finds Craigslist ads that use its property addresses early on and flags them as scams, said Cher Sonday, a property manager with Sheraton Real Estate Management.

Scammers often post low prices that look very appealing, Sonday said.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.

Actually meeting the poster of a Craigslist ad is the key to avoiding scams, according to Craigslist. It is also advised to never wire money to a Craigslist poster.

Other important things to look for are local contact numbers and addresses of properties, Herbert said. If there are multiple entries on Craigslist for one address, the chances are high that one of them is a scam.

Bryan Clendon can be reached at

[email protected]

 

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        Fake apartment listings part of housing scams