Renter Beware: Scammers Using Craigslist To Dupe Prospective Tenants Out Of Money

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
'For Rent' sign'For Rent' sign

North Carolina resident Ashley Massis is advising others to be wary of Craigslist scammers after she was unknowingly involved in a rental scam.

A stranger recently showed up at Massis' Charlotte, North Carolina, home, WCNC reports. 

"He is yelling, 'Amy,' through the window,” she told WCNC. "He said, 'I am here to look at your house -- from our conversation last night. Amy from Texas -- your ad on Craigslist.' He pulls up an ad with an application, 'Send your social security, deposit to an Amy in Texas.' Not me."

It seemed someone had posted Massis’ home on Craigslist for rent without her knowledge, and the man had unfortunately taken the bait.

The listing has since been removed, but Craigslist told Massis in an email, "This is a frequent scam in our housing department.”

Although it’s hard to estimate how many people encounter scams on Craigslist, the site has a page devoted to avoiding scams. In the case of rentals, Craigslist suggests not paying anyone if they haven’t met face-to-face and seeing property rentals beforehand.

Sophia Burrowes, a broker at the McDevitt Agency in the Charlotte area, said it’s important to verify listings. She also advises checking the homeowner's name on public tax records.

Sources: WCNC, Craigslist / Photo credit: Charleston's TheDigitel/Flickr