Craigslist / fraudsters
Fraudsters operating at Craigslist are trying to con those who are seeking a dwelling on rent. In a recent incident, a lady seeking rented accommodation in Juneau, Alaska was almost duped by scammers who pretended to be owners of a property there.
When she responded to an ad on Craigslist, fraudsters asked her to make a deposit and for some personal information to be sent via email. Keys to the home, they promised, would be sent to her as soon as she did as told.
The lady was saved from being conned when she decided to physically verify the offer made by the fraudsters. She was surprised to find the listed property happily occupied by owners who had no clue that someone had put ads offering their house for rent.
Craigslist Rental Scam Now Spreading Wide
These scams should now be seen as a common ploy adopted by fraudsters. They take down particulars of homes listed for sale at online auction sites and use it to offer the same place for rent elsewhere.
Correspondences with prospects are often done entirely via emails. The email will claim they moved recently from their homes to wherever-they-are-now on missionary work. It will use flowery words and will tug at your heartstrings to cover the scam.
The scams have their origins usually in Nigeria. As is expected, they rarely ever mention their postal address. An early warning sign, in such a case, is a contact number posted in the ad carrying the Nigerian country code.
Apart from pouching the deposit, fraudsters also use information given away by victims to steal their money. If you handover your bank account info, they are capable of transferring money from this account into one of theirs. If you divulge your driving license or social security information, they use these to open credit accounts against your name and make purchases against the same. Ditto for credit card details.
A good rule against falling prey to scams at online auction sites is to only deal with local buyers and sellers. When renting homes, especially, it is a good idea to pay a visit to the offered space. This enables you to verify independently whether the offers are genuine or not.
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