Here we go with craigslist again: 4 signs a craigslist apartment listing is a scam

I found this on a competitor’s website, but I thought it was worth reprinting for everyone’s benefit.

Craigslist has become very popular with criminals, identity thieves, email spammers and others are exploiting apartment hunters by listing scam apartment listings. Know the signs, and move on to another listing if you come across one.

width=3001 – Send in Your Deposit

It’s not normal to send in a security deposit to a potential landlord, with no lease agreement. One scam on Craigslist that frequents apartment listings in major metro areas, like New York City, is the “send us your deposit to hold the apartment” request. Prospective renters don’t see the apartment first, but they’re desperate to find an apartment at low rates, that they send a security deposit anyway. The money asked for is the equivalent of one month’s rent, to make it look like the request is real. Some scammers sweeten the deal by asking for half of that. Don’t send your security deposit in to any “landlord” without first seeing the apartment, doing your research and signing a lease agreement.

2- Sight Unseen

Scammers offer to rent you an apartment sight unseen. Send in a rent check, and you’ll be in the apartment before you know it. While it’s not unsual to rent an apartment without seeing it first, especially if you’re moving from out of state, sending in your rent check ahead of time is not normal. You should also only send personal information, which includes your social security number or driver’s license number, to a management company or commercial landlord company whose credentials you can research. Don’t send rent payments in response to an apartment listing, when you cannot verify the individual receiving it on the other end.

3 – Promise to Send Keys in the Mail

A real landlord is not going to send keys to the apartment in the mail to a stranger. An apartment listing that promises to mail you apartment keys is most likely a scam. You wouldn’t send keys to your apartment to a potential roommate without first meeting them. That wouldn’t make sense to you, because of safety and other reasons. The promise to send keys is often accompanied by a request for you to wire money first. As stated before, don’t send rent or security deposits ahead of time to anyone whose identity you can’t verify.

4 – Out of State Sellers

An apartment listing with contact information that’s located outside of the state where the apartment is located is often a scam. The landlords who post apartments reside in the same city or state. If not, a signal should go off that you may be looking at a scam.

Don’t be a victim of a Craigslist apartment listing scam. Look for these signs to avoid losing money.

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Written by Lorenzo

Lorenzo has been hanging around the RDNY.com office for the past 20 years, and, in the process, has become the president of RDNY.com, Rent-Direct.com, and Acmelistings.com. His mission is to build RDNY.com into New York's largest no fee apartment rental service. Before RDNY.com, Lorenzo was a Regional Sales Manager for Time Equities, Inc., one of New York's largest converters of rental buildings to coops and condos. Lorenzo was once a part owner of Swift & Watson Real Estate in NYC's Greenwich Village.

This article has 1 comments

  1. Kay B. Reply

    I just got scammed yesterday for $3,000 for a sublet for 5 weeks…. I found the listing on Craigslist (I am from Chicago) and so had a friend in NYC meet this guy and do a walk through the apartment and shoot a video of it…. she said it was very nice so he wrote her up a “reservation” for me for 5 weeks…. he insisted on a month’s deposit in cash, $1,400 and he gave her the keys….

    WE I arrived yesterday, I met him at a different apartment nearby because “there was a sudden plumbing problem” at the one I had sub-let…. he said I could move into that one which I had reserved this coming Wednesday ; in the meantime, I could stay at this other one – so I said okay and he said pay him the full 5 weeks rent upfront which I did – $1,650 –

    He quickly left and this morning the real owner’s cleaning lady came to the apt. I was in and said I was not supposed to be there…. I got double scammed!!!!!!!!

    Now my roommate and I have to find another place to live for the next 5 weeks….. we are out on the street – HELP!

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