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Watch out: Scam artists are collecting ‘rent’ on homes for sale they don’t own

Recently, our office has been contacted by individuals questioning ads they have found on Craigslist about properties advertised for rent in our area. It seems the advertiser is showing pictures of property that is for sale, but they are attempting to get the individual to send money to them as a deposit, and not the Realtor, claiming that the Realtors should not be contacted – to simply ignore a real estate sign if there is one on the property. In this case, the advertiser does not even own the property, or have any right to offer the property for rent.

This is a scam! NEVER send cash to anyone online without being fully aware of  the situation. As a general rule, property that is listed for sale may not be for rent. You need to go directly to the Realtor representing the property. Often, if a property is available for rent, the sign will indicate this fact. Never assume just because there is a for sale sign in the yard that it is also available for rent.

We take this matter very seriously, and have contacted the local sheriff department for investigation. One of the intended victims was kind enough to bring an email showing the contact information of the scammer. We hope that this will be resolved soon, but please be aware – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Please be careful!  -- Steve Larson, broker – owner, Coldwell Banker At The Lakes