Monterey is a beautiful place to visit and it's a great place to live. However, it is exceedingly expensive to live there. As a result, there are dozens upon dozens of real estate scams that show up on Craigslist and each and every one of them are designed to scam you out of your money. As a matter of fact, if you do a search for Craigslist scams that have been occurring in the area, it's likely that the only thing you're going to find are scams involving real estate. It's not that other types of scams don't occur there, it's just that there are so many real estate scams that most people have lost focus of the smaller crimes that don't cost people quite as much money. You'll find five of the biggest money scams going on in the area right now and not surprisingly, each and every one of them involves real estate in one capacity or another.
1. Cheating You Out of Your Home and Your Cash
The rental scams on Craigslist just never seem to stop. It's shocking how many different times people can be warned of this and yet they continue to fall for the scams that show up on this site. In this particular case, a lot of issues have revolved around this in the Monterey area. People have been posting properties for rent and they don't have any legal right to that property. Moreover, the property is usually occupied by someone who has no idea that it is being advertised for rent. Unfortunately, this does a lot more than just cheat people out of their money. It also cheats them out of a home and in a worst-case scenario, it could leave them with no place to stay and no money to find a new place.
2. You Can’t Get Something for Nothing
This is another issue that has been going on in the area regarding rental property. Again, it revolves around property that is not actually for rent. In this specific instance, a four-bedroom house was advertised for $800 a month. When you consider the fact that people are paying upwards of $1,500 a month for what amounts to a single room, it's obvious that you're not going to get a four-bedroom house for roughly half that amount.
3. This One Could Cost You Your Life Savings
In reality, it depends on how much you have managed to save us far. That being said, a woman was recently caught up in a scam involving, you guessed it, a house. This time, the house was advertised as being for sale. That doesn't change the fact that the house wasn't actually for sale begin with, nor did the real owner know anything about any of this. In the ad, an email address was provided along with a PayPal account that the buyer was supposed to wire money to. She did, to the tune of about $20,000. As you might have guessed, the so-called seller took off with the money and she wound up holding the bag.
4. Stealing Your Money by Stealing Your Identity
This won't come as any surprise to you that this involves yet another real estate scam but the way they go about it is certainly different than most. The setup is basically the same, with someone posting an ad for a house that's for rent, saying that they had to leave the country because they're doing missionary work or they're in the military. That should throw up plenty of red flags but if it doesn't, the fact that they're asking for a wire transfer definitely should. To make matters even worse, these people are using properties that are legitimately for rent, so it makes it harder to detect that it's a scam. They also require you to fill out a lengthy questionnaire, asking you questions that aren't even legal. It doesn't matter if you figure out that it's a scam before you give them any money, providing them with all of this information gives them the perfect opportunity to steal your identity, and that can end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
5. Be Careful Trying to Save Money on Vacation
If it's not already apparent, Monterey has a very big problem with real estate scams, especially with regard to the ads that show up on Craigslist. This one targets people that are vacationing in the area and trying to find a place to stay where they can rent the home for a month or two as opposed to staying in a hotel. Again, it operates on the same general principle as all of the other real estate scams. It can also cost you a lot of money, not to mention plenty of sleepless nights as you try to sort through it all.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker