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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: craigslist, , , , , ,   

    A lockbox doesn’t mean it’s not a scam 

    A lockbox doesn't mean it's not a scam

    By Greg Collier

    Many real estate services and platforms use what’s known as a lockbox on their rental properties. It is essentially an electronic box that allows access to the property. A prospective renter can then enter a code that gives them access to the keys so they can tour the property. A lockbox like this on a property can give the impression that whoever has access to the lockbox code must be a legitimate landlord. As we’re about to show you, that isn’t always true.

    A man from Louisville, Kentucky recently inquired about a home for rent that he found on Craigslist. That’s already not a good sign already as Craigslist has long been ground zero for internet scammers of many forms. Anyway, the supposed landlord told the Louisville man that the man can take a self-guided tour of the home using the Rently platform and provided a man with the code number for the lockbox.

    The man toured the home and told the Craigslist landlord he wanted to rent the home. The landlord said there would be a $2500 deposit and sent a lease to the man. The phony landlord almost got away with it too except he kept pressuring the man to pay the $2500. It was at this point that the man realized this might be a scam. The man then checked the property records of the home and discovered that the home wasn’t being rented by someone with the landlord’s name. Instead, it was being rented by a property management company.

    We’re not sure how the lockbox codes are falling into the hands of scammers unless the codes are not being changed regularly. If that’s the case, we can imagine a number of scenarios where the code number could be obtained.

    If you’re ever looking to rent a home that you’ve found online, we always recommend going to the county’s tax assessor office or website to verify who exactly owns the property. While it may take a little extra time and effort to find this information, it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , craigslist, , , , , vaccination card,   

    Fake vaccine cards are showing up online 

    Fake vaccine cards are showing up online

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, the Better Business Bureau warned people who received the COVID-19 vaccine not to post pictures of their vaccine cards on social media. The thought behind this was not only could these pictures potentially lead to identity theft, but scammers could make phony vaccine cards. Now it seems that one of those chickens has come home to roost.

    The Better Business Bureau of Illinois is reporting that blank vaccine card knockoffs have started appearing for sale online. Reports state that the phony cards have shown up on eBay, OfferUp, and of course Craigslist. The cards are being sold for as much as $200.

    The danger behind these cards are the fact there are people who actively avoiding getting the vaccine. Vaccine cards may start being required for things like air travel or public gatherings. If unvaccinated people are start using these cards to get around restrictions, we could potentially start seeing another wave of infections. Considering the number of people who won’t even wear a mask to the supermarket, these cards could constitute a serious health hazard to the population. Not only that, but the cards could allow unvaccinated people who are potentially carrying the disease to return to public places like job sites or schools to spread new strains of the virus to unsuspecting victims.

    If you’re thinking about buying one of these cards you may want to rethink your plan. Using falsified government documents is a crime. Keep in mind that the authentic cards are furnished by the CDC, a branch of the American government. If someone were to use one of these cards to get on a plane, and they get caught, they could be facing a pretty big fine or even jail time.

    Instead, why not just get the vaccine when it becomes available for you in your state. The shot is a lot cheaper than buying one of these phony cards, and it won’t land you in jail.

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

    Why is Craigslist failing? 

    Why is Craigslist failing?

    By Greg Collier

    Since Craigslist is a privately owned company, they do not have to disclose their finances. However, the AIM Group recently asserted that Craigslist has lost close to 50% of their revenue in just two years. The AIM Group is a sort of watchdog organization that keeps tabs on the online marketplace space. They once famously referred to Craigslist as a cesspool of crime.

    Using what the AIM Group calls their proprietary methodology, Craigslist’s revenue dropped from $1 billion in 2018 to $565 million in 2020. Again, that’s an almost 50% drop in just two years. Part of the drop can absolutely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the decline started long before lockdown. Part of the drop can also be attributed to the number of competitors that have recently started occupying the marketplace space. Other niche sites like Airbnb have also taken a chunk out of Craigslist’s userbase. However, we think it’s because of poor business decisions Craigslist has been making for the past 20 years.

    For a large majority of Craigslist’s history, it was long rumored that they received the majority of their traffic from their erotic services section. Due to mounting legal pressure over human trafficking concerns, erotic/adult services was shuttered in 2010. Craigslist’s revenues took a slight dip in 2011 but continued to climb until 2018. So, what happened in 2018 to cause such a downward spiral? That’s when Craigslist shuttered their personals section over fears of the anti-sex trafficking laws FOSTA/SESTA. After Craigslist closed their erotic services section, traffickers would instead just post their ads selling women and girls to the personals section. By closing the personals after FOSTA/SESTA was signed into law, Craigslist virtually admitted that their platform had a sex trafficking problem.

    Craigslist’s problem is that in their 26 years, they’ve refused to moderate any section of their site to keep out criminals and scammers. Craigslist only seems to moderate content on their platform when threatened with legal action. Except moderation costs money and Craigslist has a reputation of maximizing profits above all else, even at the expense of the safety of their userbase. Geebo.com and several other platforms moderate their content and still manage to be profitable. The only security measures Craigslist has is a list of safety tips and unless they change their tune, they will continue to decline.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , craigslist, , ,   

    Don’t let strangers take Grandma to her vaccination 

    Don't let strangers take Grandma to her vaccination

    In most states, seniors age 75 or older are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. One of the problems these seniors face is that they may not have reliable transportation to get to one of their state’s vaccination centers. In order to combat this problem, the state of Massachusetts has adopted a program where those who transport the senior citizen to the vaccination center can also receive the vaccine.

    The program was intended to give caregivers such as a spouse or adult child to take their loved one to get the vaccine. However, like most things that have good intentions at heart, there are those who look to take advantage of the program. Almost as soon as the program was announced, there were those who took to Craigslist offering money to seniors who would let them accompany them to the vaccination center. At least one person has offered over $1000 to allow them to accompany a senior to their vaccination.

    While it’s natural for people to be desperate to receive the vaccine, some of these offers could potentially be from scammers. Since seniors tend to be the largest target for scammers, this program has opened a golden opportunity for con artists. These scams could range from identity theft to a Medicare scam and anything in between. That’s not even taking the senior’s safety into account. Craigslist has been known to have a less than stellar reputation when it comes to user safety.

    When most of us were children, we always heard the warning of not getting into cars with strangers. If this is what we tell our children, then it should apply to our older family members as well. Do you really want a parent or grandparent getting into a vehicle with a stranger so they can get their vaccine?

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , craigslist, , , , ,   

    Used car scam plagues Texas county 

    Used car scam plagues Texas county

    Harris County in Texas is one of the largest county’s in the country. It doesn’t hurt that it contains Houston the 4th largest city in the country. Due to its large and culturally diverse population, Harris County has become susceptible to a scam where victims are losing thousands of dollars at a time.

    Scammers are listing stolen vehicles for sale on platforms like Craigslist, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace. When the buyer goes to purchase the vehicle, all the paperwork looks legitimate including the car title. When the buyer goes to the DMV to put the car in their name, they find out that the vehicle has been reported stolen. Meanwhile, the scammers are long gone with the victim’s money. Harris County investigators say that they’ve investigated at least 125 of these fake title scams in the past year. There may even be more victims, but the scammers seem to be targeting members of the Latino community. Some of these victims may be undocumented and are fearful of going to the police. The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office has stated they will not ask for anyone’s immigration status if they’re reporting a crime.

    There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from this scam. The first is checking the vehicle’s VIN through one of the many services that will give you a car history. In some states, including Texas, you can check with the state’s DMV website to find this information. You can also ask to have the seller meet you at a local police department parking lot to make the exchange. If the seller does not want to meet you there it’s advisable not to make the transaction. Some police departments can even tell you if the VIN has been changed on the vehicle. Lastly, ask the seller to come with you to the DMV while you get the title changed. Again, if they refuse, the vehicle may be stolen.

     
  • 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.

     
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