Scam Alert: Beware Of This Craigslist Rental Scam
By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
BROKEN ARROW, OK -- The News On 6 is raising awareness about a scam involving rental properties posted on Craigslist.
The News On 6 has mentioned this type of scam before, but felt it was important to issue a reminder, since it's still circulating and it preys on people's trust at a time when nobody can afford to lose their hard-earned money.
Michael Bennett was looking for a house to rent in Broken Arrow, east of Tulsa, so he went on Craigslist and found a house leasing for $600 a month, an offer that seemed too good to be true.
He e-mailed them and got this story:
"He's on a mission trip in West Africa and he's gonna be gone for five years," said Bennett. "He'll mail me the keys and the paperwork."
But of course, no keys would be mailed until after Bennett sent the rent and a $350 deposit.
Bennett drove by and saw a Century 21 sign in the yard and that's when he called The News On 6. The News On 6 learned it is a HUD house in foreclosure and about to be sold and was not for rent.
"It's a scam and everybody needs to know about it," said Bennett.
Bennett says the ad contained pictures that showed a rock fireplace in the corner of the living room, and that was the case. A picture of the kitchen was also in the ad.
It turns out there's a web site listing all the HUD houses for sale, with pictures, easy enough for someone to copy and paste.
Bennett found other ads with the exact same wording, for different addresses, in Oklahoma and other states. He hates that someone is playing on people's trust.
"Plus, this is the Bible Belt. He's using God and this and that and sounds so sincere, but it's not," said Bennett.
Remember there are some key red flags to look for -- the item you want to rent or buy is way under priced, words are misspelled, English is broken, any mention of Canada, England or Africa and talk of a missionary trip or God -- all those ads are best left alone.