While we continue to espouse the importance of Internet Marketing and the role that listing syndication can play in your online strategy, it is also important to remember that there are unscrupulous people that will try to manipulate information to scam unsuspecting home buyers/renters into parting ways with a financial deposit on a property.
This type of thing is happening on Craigslist. Criminals are gathering information from various sources online and then repackaging listings that are on the market for sale as rentals. The listing is posted on Craigslist under the guise that the landlord is in a real hurry to rent the property. Unsuspecting tenants are then asked for a deposit and the criminal takes off with the deposit.
The Connecticut Association of REALTORS® has published some detailed information on steps you should take to avoid this scam here.
Here are some things to consider if you suspect this scam is happening with one of your listings:
1.) Immediately check Craigslist and other similar sites for a possibly fraudulent rental listing
2.) If a listing is being displayed fradulently, contact the website immediately and report it as spam
3.) Alert your client that this has happened and assure them that you are taking care of the situation
There are many tremendous upsides to having your listing syndicated, but it is also important to keep in mind that the risk for unsavory things happening is there and should be monitored. This is happening to a very small percentage of our members, but it is happening. You can be proactive by following some of the steps that CAR has laid out at the link above and also being smart about which sites you syndicate your listings to.
If you have a further question about this scam or anything relating to it, please leave it in the comments below and we’ll answer it for the entire membership.