Craigslist Real Estate Scam Hits Northern Virginia

Well it happened – I got hit by the Craigslist real estate scam that has been going around the country.  Like a lot of real estate agents, I use Craigslist for listings, open houses, rentals, etc.

In this case it was a very nice rental for a very particular client.  We had a number of discussions about how she wanted the property described, the pictures she wanted taken, etc. etc.  All that was done and neatly posted with the property offered for $3200 a month.

Day before yesterday I got two calls on the townhouse, both quoting the rental price at $1200.  I double checked the post and the listing – no, it was $3200.

Finally one of the perspective renters called the person who had responded to his email and he said yes, he was the owner and he was renting it for $1200 – just send him a deposit check, he would leave the keys, etc. etc.  Usually it’s something about how the “owner” has to leave the country in the next day or two.

Fortunately this smart Army officer had the good sense to get back to me and I confirmed that yes, it was a scam.  The deal is this – these Craigslist scam artists take your entire listing, pictures and all and change the price and some of the contact information

Sometimes they even take a sale and list it as a rental.  It has happened in numerous spots around the country but this is my first experience with it in Northern Virginia.

Buyers/renters beware :  IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS. Think twice about how realistic an offer sounds and then run, not walk, to the AGENT (not the Craigslist scam artist) who listed the property in the first place.

Want to see the original listing for this great Old Town Greens property?  Click here.

Thanks for stopping by – and be careful out there,

Michael