People of Baltimore, Maryland have been buying, selling and trading on the Craigslist classified site for years and most of the transactions conducted have gone smoothly. They offer boats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, furniture and much more for sale. There are even ads for homes for rent or for sale listed on the site. Within the past decade, we've seen a disturbing trend evolve into what is now an epidemic of scams aimed at ripping people off. Some originate in the United States and others even come from across the globe. You must be careful when dealing with anyone you don't know personally when there is an exchange of money involved. Here are five money scams to watch out for on Craigslist Baltimore.
1. Rental scam on Craigslist Baltimore
There was a small brick house that was listed as a rental on Craigslist Baltimore. When a potential renter responded with interest, she thought that she had found the perfect new rental. She believed that she was working with a woman named Sarah of S&K Realty LLC, and she even signed a contract with her to rent the home. She met a man who went by the name of Sam and paid him $1,500 in cash to make a deposit on the home so she could move in. She was only in the home for a few days when she heard a knock on the door and was confronted with the real homeowner. The house had not been listed for rent and when she was driving by, she saw that someone was living there. The poor renter had no idea that she was dealing with con artists in an elaborate rental scam. They gained access to the home and made everything seem so legitimate. This was just one of many similar crimes that were reported in the area.
2. Police warn of scammers luring people through Craigslist
This video is a news report that warns people in Baltimore City to be wary of Craigslist ads that offer items for sale in an attempt to lure innocent victims into a trap. Several incidents of this happening have been reported. After potential buyers show interest in an item, they're told to meet the so-called sellers at a specific location. When they arrive they are robbed of the money that they brought to purchase the item at gunpoint.
3. Craigslist car scams in the Baltimore area
Here is yet another horrible money scam to watch out for in the Baltimore area. There has recently been a rash of car sale scams in Maryland. There are more than 10 of these cases being investigated involving a car that is advertised for sale on Craigslist and the sale of the car only for the buyer to find out that the vehicle advertised belongs to someone else and that they have become the victim of a scam. Scammers find vehicles advertised, steal the ad, use the pictures and come up with a reason why they can't meet in person. Arrangements are made to pay for the vehicle via a wire transfer, then the keys are supposed to be mailed to them and in some cases, they promise to ship the vehicles to the buyer, but they never arrive.
4. Another Craigslist vehicle scam
In this Craigslist scam, a Kingsville man scammed multiple people from Baltimore out of their money with a phony ad of a van for sale. He advertised the white 2002 Ford E450 van for sale. He actually sold the van to several different people and collected the money from them, but didn't deliver the van to any of them. This is one scammer that the police caught up with. He was arrested and charged for the crimes.
5. The worst online rental scam in Baltimore's history
Keith Mills took a ten-day vacation and when he returned, he discovered that there were people living in his home. He quickly discovered that a scammer had advertised his home on Craigslist and rented it out to a family. Someone had removed the realtor's lockbox and changed the locks. He didn't even have a key to the home. The worst part of it is that he cannot legally enter the home until he takes the people who are living in it to court. He must prove that he is the rightful owner before he can even see if all of his things are still there. This is one of the worst rental scams we've ever heard of.
Written by Dana Hanson
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