Have you had your listing photos and information swiped from one of the national real estate websites and then had your listing posted on Craigslist as a rental for an unbelievable steal of a deal?
Here is a news story about how this Craigslist scam works;
As I searched for the perfect video to show you how this Craigslist scam works, I came across many clips from news stations all across the country with the same message. ”Evil people are using REALTOR® photos and information to try to lure unsuspecting renters into sending them a “deposit” to rent the home for a bargain price.”
This is a problem for not just the renters, but also for the REALTORS® and the safety of the homeowners.
Homeowners are bombarded with these renters wanting to take advantage of this awesome deal, peeking in the windows of their homes and knocking on their doors trying to get a closer look. This isn’t very safe for your sellers.
In our local area, our REALTORS® have had calls from these “potential” renters wanting access to the property to check out the home before they commit to sending the check to the Craigslist scam artist, who is typically out of the country, commonly they are a missionary currently in Nigeria. This is when your RED FLAGS should go up and you need to take action! These evil doers are even smart enough to create email addresses that include the homeowners name, so if anyone researches the owner and compares it to the email address in the ad, they typically match.
One REALTOR® Association has even thought about placing watermarks on their photos to show proof of ownership and to be able to show that this information is really owned by a real estate brokerage or the association, but decided these extra measures wouldn’t stop the evil Craigslist scam and the renters probably wouldn’t even pay attention.
So how do you stop these scammers from stealing your information and attempting to profit from it?
Well, you really can’t stop them, but what if you got a notification when the ad was posted.
Today, I am going to show you how to create use Google Alerts to send you an email when this happens to one of your listings.
That is it! Google Alerts will notify you each day with a list of websites your listing is appearing on. When you see it showing up on a website like Craigslist and it wasn’t part of your market plan, simply go to Craigslist, find the offending ad and FLAG the post, then have a few other friends FLAG the post until it is removed by Craigslist as a prohibited post. I have seen ads removed after one flag, but sometimes it takes two or three.
Next you should call your seller and make them aware of the posting, if someone saw it before you got it removed. This way if someone knocks on their door or approaches them about it, they aren’t surprised and know how to react.
A way to prevent the Craigslist scam is yet to found, but if you know about it before the majority of the public, you can prevent unwanted calls from “renters” and help keep your seller and their property safe. I hope this helps!
Tell us about your experience with real estate scams on Craigslist….
Tell us what you think!
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