Real estate scam takes to Craigslist

Sheriff John Anderson today issued a real estate scam warning to sellers and perspective renters about a landlord impersonation scam targeting both Madera and Fresno Counties.

Homes placed on the market for sale are now appearing on Craigslist as property for rent. The people behind the scam are pulling information from bonafide home listings posted on the internet by legitimate real estate companies and creating for-rent ads on Craigslist.

At least two homes for sale have been re-posted on Craigslist as for rent – one in North Fork, the other Fresno.The author of the ad claims to be a Missionary and due to a higher calling has been relocated out of state, or the country, and claims he would rather rent directly to a good family than use a listing agent, which only costs additional time and money.

The author of the letter is unable to appear on site and instructs perspective renters to feel free to enter the property and look inside the windows of the home; and if they decide they want to rent for a specified amount of time, wire $800.00 along with a rental application. If the perspective renter’s application is approved, a set of house keys will be mailed to them.

Sheriff Anderson urges real estate agencies (for their clients’ benefit as well as their own) to frequently review Craigslist to make sure their detailed listings are not being compromised.

As for people looking for a rental deals, never wire money to anyone, he says. This is not a deposit, it’s a scam.

-Madera County Sheriff's Office