This Article is About
property management
sweat shops
rental property
Property Management 101: Beware Of The Craigslist Scam
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Property Management 101: Beware Of the Craigslist Scam

Craigslist has proven to be a viable marketing source for many goods, products, and services. However, the site is victimized by scammers with an array of tricks, treats, and scams!

One Available Target

As the use of the internet has grown and expanded, so has the availability of personal and private information. Anyone anywhere around the world can access information about real estate and use it to attempt to scam people out of their money, their belongings, and their dignity. Sources available online provide information such as addresses, property taxes, assessed values, names of owners, current photos, property descriptions, and much, much more.

One Popular Method

The target for a typical scam could be your rental property (if you are the owner) or the home you think you just rented (if you are a tenant). Alleged sweat shops around the world look for a recently advertised rental property whose owner lives either out-of-state, out-of-town, or currently is out of the country. In other words, we have an absentee owner whom purportedly you are never going to meet and will have communication with only by email.

Warning Flag # 1: The Absentee Owner

With an absentee owner, a potential scam is created using the internet, a site such as craigslist, and a fake email address. The authentic ad for the rental property contains current photos, a detailed description, and of course the property address.

How It Works

The scammers cross reference the address of the current internet ad with the county tax roll and find the owners with out-of-town mailing addresses (the property address and the mailing address are different). The owners name is then used to create and obtain an email address that gives the illusion of belonging to the owner. For example, JOHN Q. SMITH, JR. is shown as the owner of 1234 MAIN STREET and has a mailing address in another city. An email address such as JohnQJrSmith@XYZdotcom is obtained and then used to set up a craigslist account.

Warning Flag # 2: The Peculiar Email Address

Next, with an active but fraudulent email address, a Craigslist account is set up and ads are posted advertising the rental at a price that is substantially lower than the current asking price. The low price is a clear indication that something is up! As we all know, when something seems to good to be true, it usually is! A $300,000 house that should rent from $1,500-$2,000 is simply not going to be on the market at $750-$800.

Warning Flag # 3: The Price Is Too Good To Be True

Other Obvious Clues

1. The email correspondence is clearly written by a non-English speaking person. If you read and write the English the language, particularly if it's your native tongue, you will recognize incorrectly written prose.

2. The owner is out of the country.

3. Instructions are given to ignore the 'realty' (don't ignore the real estate sign--call the number and speak to the agent!).

4. It is explained that the rental is priced below market because the owner wants someone to take care of the house (every owner wants the house taken care of so this explanation makes no sense whatsoever).

5. The property is available for as long as you want (it's probably not a good idea to ever rent a house for more than a year).

6. You will not be able to see the inside of the house.

7. You are instructed to '...send money and we will send you the keys...'.

8. If it smells like a scam, looks like a scam, and tastes like a scam, it's probably a scam.

What You Can Do

Using your common sense is the first thing you can do to avoid being scammed. Call a real estate professional when in doubt. Avoid giving your hard earned money to someone instead of to a company. Keep your greed in check. Most victims know it's too good to be true, and can't help themselves! Don't be a fool, protect yourself, use a professional.

Craigslist Recommendations

Clearly aware of scams and fraudulent ads, Craigslist offers several warnings, allows users to flag accounts, and has precautions in place to help prevent financial losses by their users. Suggestion: Read and follow the Craigslist guidelines to avoid being scammed!

In Conclusion

Consumers can help avoid the pitfalls of internet scams by employing professional property managers and learning about property management fundamentals before renting or leasing. As a property manager I have received calls from prospective tenants who had the common sense to call before sending money and falling prey to the scam. Use your common sense, do your research, and always know who you are dealing with!

This is one in a series of articles on property management for landlords, tenants, and managers.

Street Talk


Do you have a link to what a scam would actually look like? My mom isn't too high tech so she needs to learn how to spot a page quickly.

  about 1 decade ago
You May Also Like
Property Management 101: The Application Process
Placing a tenant in a rental property is somewhat of an art and a science. It is an important process in property management because once placed, the tenant, the owner, and the property manager are bound together for the duration of the lease. The science of placing a tenant is…
By:  in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Nov 22, 2011  
  Likes: 4

Property Management 101: The Tenant Approval Process
Once the background screening and credit rating procedures are completed, it is time to put the ball in the owner’s court and let them make the final decision to deny or accept the tenant. Generally, one of three scenarios is found at this juncture, the outright denial, the acceptable, or…
By:  in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Nov 22, 2011  
  Likes: 1

Property Management 101: The Property Inspection Process
One of the most important aspects of property management is the inspection report. Many methods exist to complete the process including outlines, multi-page reports, online semi-automated reports, and checklists. Generally, the inspection report consists of two parts: a written portion and a collection of photograghs. Attention to detail and the…
By:  in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Nov 23, 2011  
  Likes: 4

What to Look for In Property Management In Los Angeles
Those who are just starting to build a real estate portfolio often don’t know what look for in property management in Los Angeles. They may not be aware of what it takes to keep a building free of vacancies or how to handle problem tenants. With a little research, it…
By: Phoenix Delray in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Jun 20, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Getting World Of Warcraft Gold
The primary currency of World of Warcraft is gold. Not real gold of course (that would be a touch expensive, don’t you think?) but a digital gold. You need it at the auction house, or to help you grind rep, or to buy your supplies from a vendor. If you…
By: Steven6 in  Gaming  >  Online Gaming   Sep 19, 2011  
  Likes: 3

Target Mini Beauty Haul
I did something very naughty... I went shopping :o I guess it wasn't as bad as it could have been - afterall it was a mini haul at Target which isn't exactly known for being pricey.. so I thought I would share with you everything I got ! So here…
By: Elyse Diamond in  Shopping and Product Reviews   Apr 28, 2013  
  Likes: 1

Target Belly Fat
There are a lot of exercises that can help you lose belly fat. But to be successful at slimming down belly fat your workout must be targeted. Meaning every exercise you do should be designed or targeted towards that unwanted belly fat. Also it is good to no that exercising…
By: Derru Secrest in  Health and Fitness  >  Exercise   Dec 21, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Need Cash For My House Now In Florida
Is “I need cash for my home in Florida” a familiar refrain? If so, then you shouldn’t waste another moment. If the subject of sell my home in Florida now appeals to you, then why not do something about that? Through our company, if you find yourself saying things along…
By: allinone1 in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Jun 06, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Various Ways In Which You Can Be Cheated While Dealing In Real Estate
Buying a real estate is a dream for most when it comes to residential buying and most of those people don’t have any sort of experience in Property buying. Not all, but still it has happened that sellers try to cheat buyers with fraud documents, fake registry, and many other…
By: Robbert Cobbs in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Jun 04, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Why Real Estate Projects In Noida Are Captivating!
With promising aspirations, better infrastructure, high standards of living, Noida has emerged as one of the favorite places for home buyers. Set up in 1976, with a view to develop an Integrated Industrial Township for the industrial growth this city is perfect potpourri of residential societies, luxury villas and commercial…
By: Investor Homez in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   May 28, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Leadsestates - Properties Real Estate Agency In Dha Lahore
DHA Lahore is a corporate organization which is committed and aimed towards providing the people very best of living standards in Pakistan. Defence Housing Society is the most modern and elegant living place for the classy people of Pakistan and Lahore. This society has been developed according to the international…
By: Muhammad Abbas Ch in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   May 20, 2016  
  Likes: 2

Byron Bay Real Estate Beachfront And Other Properties
The most noteworthy house deals (140) were in March 2002, the tallness of the surge and after that took after by much lower turnover, normal of 80 house deals for each month. The most recent deals (100) were in March 2007 and are presently indicating what I accept to be…
By: Zeeshan Ahmad in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   May 12, 2016  
  Likes: 0

How Does A Survey By Homebuyer Reports Western Super Mare Services Help You?
Today, most of the homebuyers believe that the home they want to purchase has already undergone a survey. But, the fact is that the houses only had a valuation for mortgage while all other remaining valuation works are not yet complete. The homebuyers report is essential to safeguard you and…
By: Sia Benet in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   May 10, 2016  
  Likes: 0

An Overview Of the Growing Real Estate In Delhi NCR
Delhi can safely be called the real estate nucleus of India, owning to fast paced development in and around the city. The real estate market in Delhi has scaled new height. The city has experienced tremendous growth in terms of infrastructure development with the erection of many schools, colleges, hospitals,…
By: Nadeem Akhtar in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Apr 12, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Mumbai Real Estate Turns Attractive for NRI Investors
Over the years, the urge of settling back to their countries as well as their hometowns and making a better standard of living for their families has led many Indians to shift to other countries for better work-pay equations. Better job opportunities and much better pay gives them an opportunity…
By: Nadeem Akhtar in  Real Estate  >  Property Management   Apr 11, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 3736    Report this Article