Beware of Craigslist scams - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Beware of Craigslist scams

Posted by Elizabeth Stewart - email

(WFLX) - This is a scam that anyone can fall victim to: Ads posted online advertising homes for rent. They look real, legit, even professional, but before unsuspecting renters can move into these home they realize too late they've lost a lot of money.

"I found a fake ad yesterday." Laura Pearlman is a realtor and she operates her own rental web site. Her ads are now being targeted by ruthless scam artists. "They are seeing what the realtor has it priced at and then cutting the price in half. They're posting email addresses so people are like 'I've got to get this before the next person does.'"

In that rush, the victims wire money with the promise of getting the keys. The problem? The only thing they get is scammed.

Even people who do their homework are getting taken. The scammer impersonates the real property owner, even setting up fake email accounts that include the owners name.

Laura says there is only one easy way to spot the fake ads. "If it's too good to be true, it's not true." There's no way of knowing how many people have fallen victim to it.

"I have notified craigslist of the ad by flagging it as a fake so hopefully it will be taken off the site soon." Laura says since these scams can be so convincing, it's one more reason to use a realtor while looking for a new place to rent.

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