Beware of Craigslist rental scam
by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
February 5, 2015
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued a bulletin today (Thursday, Feb. 5th) warning of a particular Craigslist scam currently active in Rock Springs and Green River.
As many people are aware, Craigslist is an Internet classified advertisement website with sections for jobs, housing for sale or rent, personals, and discussion forums; the most current Craigslist scam locally involves rental housing.
Sheriff Mike Lowell said his office has received reports of local homes listed on Craigslist that are purportedly for rent at very desirable rates.
"The scam works this way," Lowell said. "Local realtors post homes legitimately for sale on their own websites or websites such as Realtor.com. The scammers, who are often overseas, pluck the information on the for-sale homes and re-post the homes as rentals on sites like Craigslist. The rents listed by them are usually very low, which prompts people to inquire about them. The sting comes in when the fraudulent lister requests that a substantial deposit be paid, usually via wire transfer, and once that takes place, the victim’s money is gone."
And it can get worse. Many scammers ask for Social Security numbers, banking account and routing numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal information for false "rental agreements" and use that information in ongoing ripoffs.
Lowell said there is a good rule of thumb to avoiding nearly all Craigslist scams: deal locally, and only face-to-face. "If you’re looking at a rental posted on Craigslist, ask to meet personally with the owner. If you start getting a runaround about meeting in person, be very suspicious. Never wire money or rent sight unseen."