Craigslist scam targets people trying to lease homes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Craigslist scam is targeting people looking to lease homes that aren't actually available for rent.
There are many great deals on Craigslist, but sometimes they're just too good to be true.
We found a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on Clarks Lane in Louisville that was expected to rent for $800.00.
WDRB's Tamara Evans reached out to a woman through email who claimed to be the homeowner.
She said her name was Sherrie Seamster and that she's currently living in Africa for a job as a missionary.
She went on to ask for personal information, including date of birth, current address and a request for a photo.
"Then they are somehow getting people to wire money or send them certified funds, and they're stealing their money," said Stacie Thompson with Compass Realtors, the actual realtor for the home.
Thompson says it was never for rent. It was actually temporarily for sale, and not by the woman who emailed us.
"That's correct. She is not Sherrie Seamster," Thompson said.
Thompson says the actual homeowner feels violated.
She learned her house was part of a scam through this news story.
"There's pictures of her home out there that are supposed to be intended for marketing purposes and someone is stealing them to cause fraud for someone else and she doesn't want that to happen to anybody," Thompson said.
The home was also posted on HotPads.com for rent, where we found another number for Sherrie Seamster.
We tried to reach her numerous times, and were forced to leave a message.
We still haven't received a call back.
While Thompson says realtors try to take steps, like watermarking their photos to prevent this kind of fraud, it still tends to happen.
This is why she encourages people looking to buy or rent, to consult a realtor, and to also take matters into their own hands.
"There are public records available where you can check the name on deeds and tax records, to make sure the person you are talking to does really own the property," Thompson explained.
A spokesman with the Better Business Bureau says the company regularly get calls about this kind of scam on Craigslist.
He says the biggest tipoff is how the homeowner wants you to pay, and usually the scammers will want you to wire money or want cash.
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