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Craigslist Scam 2017

It seems that Craigslist scam is alive and well. It is simple. Someone overseas looks through Craigslist ads for homes. They pick a few for sale, copy everything, and place it in the rental section. Um, sounds like copyright infringement. The person overseas, and at time in the US, sets a drop dead rental price. Rent an entire house with a garage for only $400 a month. Well someone is going to answer that ad. And the scammer will find people to wire him money.

They want a few months rent and a security deposit. Usually about $2000. I used to put my listings on Craigslist. All I got was headaches, and threats.

A few years ago someone copied an ad I had on houses for sale and set up a rental ad on Craigslist. Well someone wired the scammer $2000. The scammer told the guy to call the number on the sign to get the keys. So I get a call asking for the keys. I explained how the scam worked. But the guy tells me he is coming after me for either the keys or his money. Well low and behold, this is not a victim-less crime when someone is threatening to shoot you.

I called the police. They wouldn’t do anything. I called the Realty Association attorney. It took a long time to explain that one to them. I also called the FBI. We tried to get Craigslist to take the ad off the Internet. We went on a 4-way conversation via phone, myself, the attorney, the FBI agent, and the owner of Craigslist. After telling Craigslist the problem, and asking him to remove the ad, his comment was, “freedom of speech. Sue me.” And hung up. Well the attorney and FBI agreed, there was nothing anyone could do.

I no longer advertise on Craigslist. There is no need to place a listing on Craigslist, and endanger yourself, expose people to scams, and also endanger the seller’s family. Today the MLS listing service sends all listings to dozens of websites. Craigslist is not included for obvious reasons. As soon as I add a listing to the local MLS, that listing goes all over the world. It is part of marketing today.

Then there is a problem with some of those sites. I looked at a listing on one of those sites today. They were using outdated pictures. They added the listing, but not the updates. I guess you have to check those websites. But there may be a hundred of them, and their sites are not what I would consider user friendly. It is difficult to find out how to change your own listing, and I had to change pictures one at a time.

Well the Internet has come a long way. A simple program would tell Craigslist when information is being copied and placed in other ads. That would help protect a lot of people. But that takes a bit of know how, planning, and money.

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