How to Spot Apartment Scams on Craigslist
Apartment scams on Craigslist take advantage of those looking for a deal and a new home. Typically, the scam starts when a scammer posts an unbeatable deal on an apartment and a person responds. Read the following tips to learn how to spot apartment scams on Craigslist and to spare yourself the loss of money and a home.
Look for apartments for rent on Craigslist.
Come across a listing that has an eye-catching headline. Typically, the headline will describe a very low rate for an apartment in an expensive area.
Click on the posting to read details. The description will detail a poster's urgent situation and the need to get rid of or sublet an apartment immediately. The scammer may post a story about a sudden job move or another emergency. The scammer will write about trust issues and ask that you be an honest renter. He will also be out of the country, but may not say that in the description.
Notice odd characteristics of the posting. The posting may be written in very bad grammar and include information irrelevant to the transaction. The scammer will request an immediate, upfront deposit needed to distinguish serious renters from others. There may also be a lack of pictures or many appealing pictures that don't match the rental price or the described layout of the apartment.
Communicate with the scammer through email. He'll tell you that visiting the apartment is impossible because of his need to finish getting ready to move, its current messy state or his position in a different country. Scammers may also claim to be traveling or on vacation. The scammer will request that you wire the security deposit to him and promise to send an envelope with the apartment's keys stuffed in it when he receives the money.
Resist the urge to wire your money to the scammer. Realize that this is a scam and you won't receive an envelope with apartment keys.
Tips & Warnings
- Scammers may also pose as landlords, real estate agents or people looking for roommates.
- Know that some scammers may claim to deaf or hard-of-hearing so that they won't have to discuss the apartment over the phone.