Local landlord fights Craigslist rental scam - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local landlord fights Craigslist rental scam

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A local landlord is hoping to save people from being scammed out of thousands of dollars. He uncovered a Craiglist rental scam that used his property to prey on potential renters.

John Howard owns Red Door Property Management. A few days ago he advertised an open house at one of his rental properties on Craigslist. Customers showed up, but they had the wrong listing information.

According to Howard, "One said he had seen on Craigslist that we lowered the price from $820 per month to $500 per month." More than one customer had that information.

Howard suspected there might be some kind of scam on Craigslist, so he did some looking. His ad was still there, but a second, nearly identical ad for $500 a month with a bogus e-mail address had been added.

Dick Epstein from the Better Business Bureau says this a new twist on a common scam. "People have sent deposits, sometimes they show up at the house with their moving van."

Scammers will pull tricks like changing it from a rental to a rent-to-own, so they can ask for a significant deposit. People are told they need to send the deposit right away and the scammers can't quite find the time to show you the property. They told people to go over to Howard's property and see how nice it was.

Howard covered the windows with warning about this scam and did his own investigating using a fake e-mail address.

"They replied, Oh year, I relocated to Rensler, New York and I have all the keys. I tried to work with a real estate agent, but I felt they were ripping me off. The stories don't' hold up, they're all fantasy stories."

But many people still fall for it. Howard had filed reports and complaints with Craigslist and the FTC as well as reported the scam to law enforcement.
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