KPD Warns of Craigslist Housing Scam


The Kearney Police Departmenthas received several reports lately regarding a housing scam on Craigslist.

The scammers have posted alisting for a home for rent below the market price using publicly availablereal estate listings. They ask for an email response from interested rentersand do not list a phone number and then reply back with an automatic response.

The response contains a storyabout how the owner of the home has already moved away and is not available toshow the home. The "responsible party" or owner goes so far as to tell theinquirer to ignore the "For Sale" sign in the yard and that it's been taken offthe market.

The ad then provides anout-of-area telephone number as a means of contact. The number is actually anonline based telephone number that could be originated anywhere.

If interested renters continueto email or text the scammers the scammers try to convince the inquirer to senda money order or Western Union transaction for the deposit under the guise thatthey will send the keys to the inquirer when they get the deposit.

Police believe the depositmoney will likely end up overseas after it travels through an unknowing 3rdparty, that they have also scammed, somewhere in the United States. Theresponsible party claims this person is their relative or Power of Attorney.

If you come across this add orhave already begun a conversation with these people, police warn that it is a scam.

The Kearney Police Departmenthas a few tips to avoid getting caught in a scam:

  • Do not send moneyto anyone that you cannot speak directly to.
  • Do not agree torent or purchase property that you cannot view first.
  • Remember the oldsaying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"?

The FBI lists several good tipson recognizing and avoiding these scams:

  • Only deal with landlords or renters who are local;
  • Be suspicious if you're asked to only use a wire transfer service;
  • Beware of e-mail correspondence from the "landlord" that's written in poor orbroken English;
  • Research the average rental rates in that area and be suspicious if the rate issignificantly lower; and
  • Don't give out personalinformation, like social security, bank account, or credit card numbers.