For Sale Homes Turned Into Rental Scams

Unfortunately, there’s a real old rental con that’s being pulled in 2016 on individuals looking for SF rentals and SF homeowners selling their homes. Beware if you’re looking to rent, and brokers should also be very vigilant.

Here’s the scam: target a house for sale in SF; create an attractive rental ad for the house on Craigslist; provide very detailed information on the home when queried; make excuses as to why the home can’t be seen; send out bogus lease agreements to the marks; collect by wire the first month’s rent plus two months security deposit from the mark.

Rentals are pricey here in the city, and these scam artists can easily walk away with a cool $12,000 and up for their con work on one person. Most of these con people are over in Europe where they can set up accounts on Craigslist (also Trulia, Rentals.com), and actually do all the communication remotely by email, and receive the funds by wire. 

The renters are badly stung financially. But, as well, the real estate brokers legitimately handling the sale of the home are often mentioned by name and number in the scam ads.

Brokers can prevent this by: routinely checking the listing on Craigslist or other online rental hubs to see if your properties are listed there. If so, contact the SF District Attorney’s office, the FBI and the FTC complaints department.

Renters should beware of any offer that sounds “too good to be true,” and certainly be very wary of homes with no possible personal viewing opportunities. 

Here’s a helpful link for more rental scam information.