Craigslist Classified for Rent Scams

This post was written by jd on April 26, 2009
Posted Under: Real Estate


Although millions of transactions spawned by Craigslist are completed without a problem, there is always someone out there using it to steal someone’s money. So goes the tale of a West African scammer who took the address of a home in Lexington that was listed for sale and advertised it on Craigslist as one of his rentals. Saying that he was in West Africa on a land deal, he gave instructions the prospective renter to send a deposit and first month’s rent to a specified address and the keys for the house would be sent by mail.

People who wanted to rent the property, saw a for sale sign and called the listing agent telling her that they had seen the house for rent on Craigslist. The listing agent became aware of the scam and contacted Craigslist. She discovered that that the con artist had used her listing photographs and details of the property from her listing information and had used his contact number instead of her. The listing agent contacted Craigslist and told them of the scam and she hopes it is gone. The twist in this story – the property had been sold even before she got any calls for renting the property.

Here’s another one, how about a Nigerian “pastor” who was trying to collect rent on a Delta Township home to which he had no connection?

The homeowner’s were not amused when all of a sudden, their house which had no activity all of a sudden had tons of people driving by and looking at their home. They were picking up flyers and people were getting out of their cars and looking around their home.

One of the browsers approached the homeowners and wanted to confirm that the house was for rent. Available for WHAT? Was the astonished reply by the homeowners. It seems the home was listed for rent by the good pastor for $1,300 a month, including utilities, dogs and cats were welcomed. Now for a 2,000 square foot home in a good neighborhood this is really a good deal. And we all know if it’s too good to be true, well, it’s not true. The bogus ad had gone up the previous night on Craigslist and the next day the home was bombarded by lookers. The ad on the Internet classified ad site: $1,300 per month plus a $500 deposit.

The agent acknowledged that Craigslist was among the many places he listed the house, but never as a rental. Somebody simply lifted the text of the ad and created a new ad in the hope of collecting as much money as possible before being exposed.

The man who posted the ad called himself “Pastor Heller,” and he tells a story about having to abandon the Delta Township home for an emergency trip to Africa. He asks for $1,300 – one month’s rent, plus a $500 deposit, to be sent through Western Union. He promises to Fed-Ex the keys after receiving the money. I wonder why he picked the name Pastor HELLer?

You know that most of the ads on Craigslist are valid, but if you see one where the ad states that you are to send money by wire or mail, beware, it might be Past HELLer.

Reader Comments

Mr. Dan and other african type scammers, they are “re-locating” to africa and need someone to care for their home in a very tidy manner. just wire money by western unions and you too can be ripped off by yet another con-job. REPORT ALL ABUS?FRAUD via abuse@craigslist.org to help deal with this serious problem.

Written By Anonymous on October 5th, 2009 @ 11:51 AM

August 25, 2010. The African Preacher Scammers are still at it. I had three calls from people checking to make sure the cheap rental was for real on a house in Nevada City. It is not for rent, although it is for sale.

Written By Anonymous on August 26th, 2010 @ 8:44 AM
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