Scammers are grabbing photos from real estate websites and opening email addresses in homeowners’ names in order to trick wouldbe renters into sending cash in exchange for a lease to a house the scammer doesn’t own. Tricky!
One homeowner was surprised to hear a knock on her door and find two people who wanted to tour the house before they rented it, says Ocala.com:
They also had an e-mail from the home’s previous owner, [the owner's] mother, explaining she was a missionary who had been sent to West Africa at the last moment and hadn’t had time to find a Realtor to help look for a renter, so she had to find someone on her own and by long distance.
In the e-mail, [the owner's] mother was asking for a $750 deposit and $700 per month for the three-bedroom, two bath home. Once the money arrived, she would send the [the renters] the key. It sounded like a good deal, considering similar homes in the area rented for closer to $1,000 per month.
But there was a problem: [the owner's] mother had been dead for two years.
The potential renters had found the house on craigslist.
You know what they say about deals that are too good to be true, well, it’s especially true of anything you see on craigslist. Even a house!