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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, rental car, , ,   

    Man loses $28,000 in Craigslist truck scam 

    A man in Lubbock, Texas recently found himself out of close to $29,000 after he bought a truck he found on Craigslist. The transaction had every indication of being a scam, but that’s only if you know what to look for.

    First off, the vehicle was being listed at $6,000 below market value. Scammers often list vehicles at these prices to lure in potential victims. The seller claimed that she was getting rid of the truck because it was owned by her son who passed away. Scammers often use some tale of heartbreak to not only prey on a victim’s emotion, but to also explain why the vehicle is being sold at such a loss.

    The seller was said to have provided the man with legitimate looking documentation that matched up with information he was given. The seller provided a title and other paperwork that appeared to correspond with the vehicle’s VIN. The man was even provided with a CARFAX report that made the vehicle appear as if it was being sold by the legitimate owner. The seller insisted that the man pay in cash.

    When the man went to the DMV to transfer the title, he was told that the truck was stolen and belonged to a rental car company in Houston. The truck had been rented with a stolen credit card and never returned. All the documentation that the man had been provided with were all legitimate looking counterfeits.

    If you’re going to buy a vehicle from an online listing, don’t be taken in by a too good to be true price. Do your research and make sure the car isn’t stolen or being misrepresented in any way. Taking the seller’s word at face value can often lead to a substantial loss of money.

    The best way to protect yourself in a situation like this is to meet the seller at the DMV and have them go with you to transfer the title. If the sale is legitimate, they should have no problem with extending this courtesy to you.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    Dream home becomes nightmare for one family 

    Dream home becomes nightmare for one family

    Recently, we mentioned how rent prices in the San Francisco Bay Area were dropping due to the pandemic and how rental scammers were using this to their advantage. The opposite can be said as well in markets where rent prices are climbing. A family in Tennessee unfortunately found this out the hard way.

    It started out like many rental scams do. They found a great listing for a property on Craigslist for an amount they could afford. The red flags that this listing was a fake appeared almost immediately. However, the family ignored them in their eagerness to find what they called a ‘forever home’.

    First, the person supposedly renting the home would only communicate with the family through text messaging. This makes it harder for victims to identify their scammers.

    Next, the scammers came up with a story about why the rent was so affordable. They told the family that they had just moved out of town and didn’t want the home to be empty in the winter.

    The family was then told they couldn’t tour the home or meet with the renters because of COVID-19. As you can imagine, social distancing has been a boon for scammers because they now have a reasonable explanation to avoid meeting their victims.

    There was even a for sale sign outside the property, but the scammers are said to have explained that away too.

    The last red flag came in the form of Cash App. The family paid the scammers $2400 through the mobile payment app. The family was then asked for an additional $1200, or they would lose the listing.

    The family contacted who they thought they were dealing with on Facebook who were actually previous victims of these particular scammers.

    It’s almost like this scammer wrote the book on rental scams as they had an answer for just about every red flag. Still, these red flags should not be ignored even if the deal seems to be sent from above.

    If a supposed landlord says they can’t meet you or show the home, walk away from the deal. That’s been a rental scammer staple even before the pandemic happened. Back then, they would give stories like they were doing missionary work overseas or were deployed in the military.

    With any big life choice like moving into a new home we always recommend doing as much research on the property as possible before making any financial commitment. Do a reverse image search to make sure the pictures on the listing aren’t stolen from a realtor; and always check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner or realtor is.

    Don’t let scammers pressure you into giving them your money with threats of losing the listing. Having all the information at hand will protect you against their tactics.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    COVID-related rental scams continue 

    COVID-related rental scams continue

    The ongoing pandemic has had at least one positive effect. Rental fees in the San Francisco Bay Area have gone down. Since the Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the country, this is a needed relief for those looking for housing there. However, the new lower rents make this a veritable field day for rental scammers.

    Rental scammers normally use lower than market value rents in the fraudulent listings. With the current market in the Bay Area already at new lows, it makes it harder to spot a scammer. Also thanks to the pandemic, rental scammers have been using social distancing as an excuse not to meet with their victims.

    A San Francisco couple found a listing for an apartment on Craigslist that was bigger than the one they had, but the new apartment had a cheaper rent. They contacted the supposed rental agent from the contact listing. He told the couple to download an app that would allow them access to tour the apartment by themselves. While they toured the apartment the rental agent was talking to them through FaceTime the entire time.

    The couple agreed to move in and the agent requested first months rent and a deposit which amounted to $6000. Later, the agent asked them how much rent they could pay in advance. Begrudgingly, the couple agreed to pay another $6000 up front. Then the agent requested another $1500 which the couple agreed to $750.

    As you’ve probably guessed by now, the couple went to move in on January 1st only to find that the apartment had been rented to someone else. The Craigslist listing was a fake. That left the couple out close to $13,000. Even for a successful Bay Area couple, that isn’t exactly small potatoes.

    No matter how legitimate someone may seem, there’s always the potential that you’re being scammed when trying to rent a property. As always, we recommend doing as much research as possible before entering to any agreement on a property. Do a reverse image search to make sure the pictures on the listing aren’t stolen from a realtor. Plus, you should always check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner or realtor is. While research may be time-consuming, it could save you thousands of dollars in the end.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    Rental scam could leave family homeless for the holidays 

    Rental scam could leave family homeless for the holidays

    A family in North Carolina is facing possible homelessness after falling prey to a rental scam. The family was already down on their luck when they came in contact with a scammer. They have a struggling business that’s been hit hard by the pandemic. They also have two young children who test positive for COVID. On top of that, they had to quickly find a new home due to safety concerns.

    Unfortunately, they went to one of the worst places you can go to find a new home, Craigslist. They found a listing with reasonable rent. When they contacted the supposed realtor from the listing, they were told when the property would be open for viewing. They wanted to move in so they paid an $800 deposit through PayPal. However, when they went to meet the realtor to get the keys at the new home, the realtor never showed. As with most rental scams, the Craigslist listing had been copied from a legitimate realtor’s website. Now the family could be out $800 and they’re scrambling to find a place to stay.

    Sadly, they are the type of victims that rental scammers love to fleece. Scammers are always hoping to find victims who are in a desperate situation who may not be thinking clearly. If the victims are under some kind of impending deadline, that’s even better for the scammer.

    While we hope this family lands on their feet, their story can be used as a warning for anyone looking to rent a home on short notice. Even if you’re under a time crunch, research the property before making any kind of deposit. We always recommend checking with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who is actually renting the property. Also making any payment through a payment app like PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App should be a red flag that you might be getting scammed. It’s easy for scammers to block victims once the payment is made leaving the victims with little to no recourse.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, Lousiana, , ,   

    Scammer collected deposit in person for home they didn’t own 

    Scammer collected deposit in person for home they didn't own

    Normally in home rental scams, the scammer will give any excuse as to why they can’t meet you in person. So what can you do when the scammer agrees to meet you at your home? Well, to collect your money anyway. That’s exactly what happened to a mother of six from Lousiana when she found a home reasonably priced home for rent online.

    The woman found the listing on Facebook Marketplace which led her to a listing on Craigslist. She contacted the number on the ad and the man on the other end said that he would be happy to rent her the home. The victim that was sent an application that we’re sure asked for a lot of personal information that could potentially be used for identity theft later.

    The scammer is said to have shown up at the woman’s current residence to have her sign a legitimate-looking lease. She was then instructed by the scammer to buy two pre-paid debit cards. One for the rent and one for the deposit. Each card carried $750 in funds. Later on, the scammer asked her to take pictures of both the front and back of each card.

    She had all her belongings packed up and ready to move when the scammer told her that he couldn’t meet her to give her the keys because of a ‘family emergency’. That was the last time she heard from the man who claimed to be renting her a new place to live.

    As it turns out, like most rental scams the Craigslist listing had been copied from a legitimate realtor’s website. The scammer is believed to have copied the listings of multiple other properties. All the other properties were actually listed for sale instead of being for rent.

    If you’re looking for a new place to live, you should take the time to do your research into the property. We always recommend checking with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. Along with that we also recommend doing a reverse image search to make sure the photo’s from the property ad aren’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. You should also be wary of any landlord who can’t tell you anything about the property but is anxious to collect a deposit. Also, be wary if the landlord tries to collect payment through apps like Venmo, Cash App, or other non-traditional means that could be untraceable.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, , , ,   

    The original fake check scam resurfaces 

    The original fake check scam resurfaces

    The fake check scam has been around as long as items have been sold on the internet. As we have shown, there are many variations on the fake check scam, but to our knowledge, this one was the first. We even used to call it the Craigslist check scam since it was so prevalent on their platform.

    This scam happens when you try to sell something online no matter what platform you may choose to use. You’ll receive a check from a prospective buyer for more than the amount you were asking for. The buyer will give some excuse why the check was written like that. They’ll then ask you to deposit the check and just return the overage.

    The problem occurs when your bank finds out it’s a fake check after you’ve already returned the overage to the phony buyer. Even though you’ve been the victim of a scam, your bank will hold you responsible for the full amount of the fake check you deposited along with any associated fees.

    This recently happened to a woman from New Jersey. She had lost her job because of COVID and was selling some of her personal belongings on the OfferUp app. She listed some furniture for sale and it wasn’t long before a prospective buyer contacted her on OfferUp. The buyer then moved all communications to text messaging.

    The buyer even had a sob story all ready to go to get the seller’s defenses to go down. The buyer claimed that her grandmother was ill in the hospital and that the buyer’s secretary accidentally sent a check for the wrong amount. The check received was for over $2600 when the seller was only asking $900.

    The seller offered to have the check destroyed so the buyer could send a new one. Instead, the buyer insisted the check be deposited and the seller could send $1000 of the overage back through payment app Zelle and the rest through Venmo which the seller did. The check turned out to be a fake cashier’s check and now the unemployed seller has to pay at least $1700 back to her bank.

    When you’re selling on any online marketplace, any time you receive a check that’s more than your asking amount it’s almost guaranteed to be a fake. Also, be aware of any kind of sob story attached to an irregular payment like this. You should also be aware of any transactions that are offered to be done over payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App as scammers can block you after taking your money.

    We always recommend only doing business locally and only with cash. Also, you should do any exchanges of items and money at a local police station as many stations now have areas set up for such occasions. While it may not be the perfect solution, it does go a long way in discouraging criminal behavior from happening.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person 

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person

    We often discuss a lot of different scams. Sometimes we even discuss the same scam on a number of different occasions. While the advice we give about avoiding scams are often good rules to follow in general, sometimes they don’t apply to every situation. For example, when it comes to renting a property, we always say don’t rent a property where the supposed landlord either won’t meet you or refuses to show the property. While that is a good general rule to follow, what do you do when a scammer does show up to show you the property?

    This happened to a couple from Ohio recently. They found a rental property on Craigslist that appeared to be a bargain. They called the number on the Craigslist listing and the man on the other side of the call said he would meet them at the property. Instead, a woman showed up who claimed to be the landlord’s wife. The wife did not have the key to the property but was able to access a lockbox at the property that did contain the key.

    The couple signed an official-looking lease and gave the woman a $475 money order as a deposit. The couple started moving in their belongings and even had internet installed at the property.

    It was a few days later when the actual landlord showed up to tell the couple that they had been duped. The scammers had copied a legitimate rental ad and posted it to Craigslist while changing the rental amount and the phone number. It’s believed that the scammers even posed as potential renters to get the code to the lockbox. The current landlord is willing to work with the couple but not everyone who’s taken in a rental scam like this is that lucky. Too often victims of these scams find themselves out on the street.

    However, there are steps you can take to avoid falling for a scam like this. The first is that you may want to avoid using Craigslist barbecue it has become a haven for scammers of all sorts. If the listing has pictures, do a reverse image search to see if the pictures are being used on a realtor’s website. If the pictures appear on a realtor’s website and Craigslist simultaneously, it’s almost a guarantee that the Craigslist ad is a fake. Lastly, always check with the county assessor’s website or office to find who truly owns the property.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , ,   

    Family loses puppy to illness in Craigslist scam 

    Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been warning consumers about one version of the puppy scam. This is where phony online dog breeders will sell you a puppy that doesn’t actually exist. After they’re paid, the scammers will start asking for more money in the form of things like shipping fees or special travel crates. Even though a victim may lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, at least an animal isn’t being actually abused.

    Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the second type of puppy scam. This is where people will breed puppies with little regard for the animal’s health and well-being. The animals are often bred in squalid conditions without receiving any medical care. The term backyard breeder is often used to describe these scammers as they are usually not certified to be actual breeders.

    One family in North Carolina recently purchased a puppy from a Craigslist seller for $300. When asked about shots, the sellers told the family that they did the shots themselves because they didn’t want to take the puppy to the vet due to COVID-19 concerns. Once the family got the puppy home it became obvious that something was wrong. The family took the puppy to the vet where it was diagnosed with hookworms, roundworms, and anemia. Within less than 24 hours of bringing the puppy home, the puppy had to be put down. When the family tried to contact the seller, the phone number had already been turned off.

    As always, when it comes to adding a new pet to your family we recommend adopting from your local shelter. More often than not, not only will the animals have had competent medical care but the odds are they’ll be with your family for quite some time. If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure they are a licensed breeder that’s in your area.

     
  • Geebo 8:24 am on September 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , ,   

    New football season means ticket scams 

    New football season means ticket scams

    Whether you agree with the situation or not, the NFL has obviously decided to go ahead with the 2020 season. The league is enforcing social distancing guidelines during their games and have limited seating inside all the football stadiums around the country. For example, The Cleveland Browns seating capacity was limited to just 6,000 for this past Sunday’s game. The stadium the Browns play in has the capacity to hold more than ten times that many fans.

    With the limited amount of tickets being issued, fans are paying even more than a premium than usual to see their favorite team. Unfortunately, this has not put a stop to the number of scammers who are selling fake tickets online.

    Recently, a man from Cleveland found a pair of tickets to the Browns’ game on Craigslist. The tickets were being listed as being on sale for $65 each. Once the man sent money to the seller through PayPal, the seller disappeared. While this man may have only been out $130 other ticket scams have cost football fans thousands of dollars.

    In many cases, scammers will even provide legitimate looking physical tickets to their victims. That’s because at one time the tickets were legitimate. Scammers will sometimes buy tickets with stolen credit cards. Once the cards are reported stolen and the purchase is canceled, scammers will send the canceled tickets as real. The victim won’t find out the tickets are fake until they’re turned away at the gate by stadium security.

    To be fair, most dedicated sports fans have bought tickets from a scalper at some point in their life and were able to see the game. However, those scalpers are being replaced by scammers who are simply looking to take your money instead of selling you overpriced tickets. If you’re really looking to attend a game, buy only from the team or authorized dealers.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on August 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, , ,   

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads 

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads

    In the Cleveland, Ohio area, owners of vacation homes have seen a recent increase in scams targeting their rental properties. This is hardly a new scam as it’s origins can be traced back to the early days of the commercial internet. This scam can also affect any property, not just vacation rentals.

    Several vacation rental owners have reported coming into contact with people who had been scammed into paying phony deposits to scammers posing as the landlords. Scammers had copied the ads from legitimate vacation rental websites and pasted the ad onto an unmoderated classifieds site almost word for word. The only thing the scammers changed was the contact information. Of course, the website in question is Craigslist.

    One of the vacation rental owners tried to get the ads taken down by Craigslist but they allegedly never received any feedback from Craigslist. It wasn’t until a local news channel got involved that the ads were finally pulled. When the station asked Craigslist why it took so long to remove the ads, they received no response.

    Craigslist still relies on what they call ‘community policing’. This means that they might pull an ad if enough users flag the ad. While some scam ads are obvious just by looking at them, that’s not the case with rental ads. In most cases, no one will know that a rental ad is a scam until victims start losing money to the scammers.

    There are many different ways you can protect yourself from falling prey to these scammers. One is using Geebo.com where our listings are reviewed for potential scams. You should also be wary of any landlord who can’t tell you anything about the property but is anxious to collect a deposit. If a landlord says they can’t show you the property even for COVID-19 reasons it’s probably a scam. If they ask for payment in untraceable ways like gift cards or wallet apps like Venmo and Cash App it’s more than likely a scam. You can also do a reverse image search to see if the pictures in the ad are being used somewhere else. You can even copy a snippet of the text and use that as a web search to help detect duplicate ads. Lastly, if you see duplicate ads on a rental website and Craigslist, it’s almost a sure bet that the ad on Craigslist is the fake.

     
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