While technology does have its advantages in the real estate industry, the reality is it is very easy for someone to take your photos, descriptions and addresses of your properties and list them elsewhere to scam potential renters or buyers.
PAR was recently made aware of residents in the commonwealth being scammed for housing on Craigslist.
The Luzerne County Association of Realtors® learned of a local house for sale by a professional real estate brokerage, which was illegally listed by another person as a rental property on Craigslist. A consumer interested in renting the property contacted the broker prior to sending a payment, only to learn that an unauthorized person had offered the property for rent.
These rental scams have occurred throughout the country and have cost consumers millions of dollars. Scammers illegally take listing information from a home for sale and re-post the property as a rental on another website, such as Craigslist. Many times, the scammer will ask for payment upfront from possible tenants.
As Realtors®, you can do your part to stop scams. Make sure you check online, via a search engine like Google, for the address, photos or descriptions of your properties being used elsewhere.
Remind your clients to be diligent, and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you believe your properties have been the targeted for a rental scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency and to the FTC. You should also contact the website where the ad was posted as well.