We have seen this scam once before here in Greensboro but it is back! A Craigslist posting advertises a home "For Rent" that is currently listed "For Sale" with a local Realtor. The rent is well below market price. An email is established at Gmail or Yahoo in the owner's or Realtor's name (i.e. BettySmith@yahoo.com) so it looks legitimate. Because the rent is listed so low, there are a flood of inquiries. Here in part is the response that people receive:
"My husband and I just traveled to West Africa for a program called Empowering Youth to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Lack of Education which will be taking place in three major countries which are Kenya, India and Nigeria for a period of 5-7 years. Presently my house is still available for rent (rent already includes utilities).
The house was previously listed with a Realtor but we decided to handle it on our own in order to know who we are renting to. Also, due to the fact that a Realtor agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him/her later. This is one reason the price we are offering is far below standard rental price and this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the utmost care and maintenance for the property. I know there may be no way we can be sure of the right person to live in the house because we won't be able to meet before hand regarding sending you the keys and the documents to occupy the space and since we don't run credit checks. So if you believe you can take good care of the house and handle it like yours then I will be more than willing to let you rent the house...The monthly rent is $800 including utilities and the security deposit (refundable) is $800 to move in as soon as you are ready."
That's right, just wire the first month's rent and the deposit and they'll send you the keys.
This is frustrating on several different levels. First, Craigslist won't cooperate by removing the listing, even after the posting is flagged several times. Complaints filed with the FTC yield no results. And those interested in renting this home continue to be confused! Hopefully, no one will actually be duped by this scam!
Beware of this scam in your area. If you see it, flag it and hopefully Craigslist will eventually respond!