Live 5 Scambusters: Homeowners victimized by rental scam on Craigslist

VIDEO: Live 5 Scambusters: Homeowners victimized by rental scam on Craigslist

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - House hunters looking for a place to rent have to be on guard for rental scams. Homeowners need to be aware too.

Jude and P.J. Nelms say a scammer is using their house to rip people off.

“It makes us feel like we’re being attacked personally,” Jude said.

The couple put the North Charleston home on the market to sale. A few weeks later, the noticed a problem with people showing up to see it.

“We had an open house and people showed up,” Jude said. “Some people were here to buy and other people to showed up to look at a rental and it put a bad feeling in the room. The potential buyers feel like they’re involved in a scam.”

The couple discovered their house, with all the pictures and information from their MLS listing online, was also being offered for rent on Craigslist. The three bedroom home was renting for only $800 with all utilities included.

“For this neighborhood that’s a great deal,” Jude said. “That’s less than half of what other houses are going for.”

The house showed up a second time on Craigslist a few days later. This time it was listed for $750. P.J. replied to the ad and the scammer responded. “He” explained that P.J. would not be able to walk through the house because he’d been transferred to Texas and had the key with him. The scammer also said the “For Sale” sign in the yard would be removed once the first payment was made.

The couple says the fake listing should have been removed, but it’s still there a week later.

If you’re looking for a rental online, be aware of these common red flags:

  • Unusually low rent compared to other homes in the area
  • Listings that offer all utilities paid as part of the rent
  • You’re asked to send money without seeing the inside of the home

If you come across scam listings like these, be sure to report them to keep others from being scammed.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.

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