The very idea of being taken advantage of in a Craigslist scam is often enough to make you want to lose your mind. It’s frustrating beyond words to think that you might end up getting taken when you’re merely responding to an ad that you believe is completely legitimate. The truth is, Craigslist scams happen all the time. They occur in every big city and small town in the country and they actually seem to be happening more and more with each passing day. If you live in San Diego or the surrounding area, you might want to pay special attention to the five scams that are listed below, as these are some of the most recent types of scams that have been occurring in the region.
1. Think twice before you get that apartment
A family was trying to do something nice for their daughter, responding to an ad on the site for an apartment to rent. Unfortunately, the thing that got their attention was the fact that the apartment was listed at such an affordable rate. This is also very thing that should have tipped them off that something wasn't right. Sadly, they didn't sort things out until they had already been scammed out of quite a bit of money. As it turned out, the ad was nothing more than one of the millions of rental scams that occur on Craigslist on monthly basis.
2. When the District Attorney’s office starts issuing warnings
Things have gotten so bad with rental scams in the area that the District Attorney's office has been issuing warnings to residents of the area, basically telling them to avoid renting through Craigslist regardless of the circumstances. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds those warnings and a lot of people have found themselves conned out of their hard-earned money because of it. The thing that gets most people is that these listings are typically for really nice pieces of property that are less than half of what you might expect to pay for them. In an area where housing is expensive, this can be even more appealing. If you can't resist the urge to respond to a Craigslist ad, the least you can do is become your own advocate and do some heavy investigative work before you spend any money or provide as much as your last name. You owe it to yourself to do that and in this day and age, you almost have to do that with every type of transaction in order to make sure that you don't end up becoming the victim of a scam.
3. Be careful with that vacation house
It's not always about housing scams for a place that you can rent to call home on a long-term basis. In this particular case, it has expanded into the vacation housing market. You know how a lot of people rent their houses out during certain times of the year so that vacationing families can stay there? Be careful if you answer one of these ads on Craigslist. People have been posting property as vacation rentals, asking that you wire all of the money up front. The problem is, you find out when you get there that they don't own the house and it is not available for rent, not even for a couple of weeks.
4. Apartment listing with no apartment
This scam targets people that are looking for a place from some other location, in other words, long-distance renters. Everything sounds great on paper and the price seems more than fair. Of course, you are asked to provide not only all of your personal information, but also to wire a sizable deposit to a specific account, along with first month's rent. The issue is that there is no apartment and since you're trying to rent a place from some other location in the country so you can move to San Diego, you'll never know that until you get there.
5. Stop wiring money for items you want to buy
People frequently wire money in order to purchase an item they’re interested in buying. This is something that you should never do. If the ad requires that you send money as opposed to meeting in person and handling the transaction in cash, just walk away.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker