Sarasota, Florida residents enjoy the convenience of using Craigslist to advertise items they have for sale or trade including automobiles, RVs, trucks, furniture, extra event tickets and much more. It’s also a good venue for listing homes for sale or rent or job opportunities. While most sellers on the site are legitimate, there is a contingency of scammers who have invaded the site, and they’re bilking innocent victims out of their hard earned cash. Here are 5 money scams on Craigslist Sarasota that you need to watch out for.
1. Police warn Sarasota residents about a rental scam
Within a two week period, police in Sarasota received three complaints about rental scams advertised on Craigslist. The scammers are using legitimate listings for homes for sale, then taking the pictures and descriptions to advertise low rent homes changing the contact information. They usually make up a sob story about being out of the country and this is why they can’t meet with you face to face. They send an application to get your personal information, then a rental agreement. It may look legit, but it isn’t. They insist you must wire a deposit and first month’s rent to their account which cannot be traced. Once you wire the money to them you’ve become their latest victim. The keys they promise to send you never arrive and when you drive by the property, you’re likely to see a for sale sign. Don’t conduct business over the phone or online. If the owner won’t or can’t meet with you in person and if they can’t verify ownership, look for another place to rent.
2. Craigslist car scam in Sarasota
The Sarasota police department is warning everyone that there is a new car buying scam on Craigslist. Scammers are taking information from auto dealerships including pictures and information about automobiles and creating a phony listing. They offer the vehicles at ridiculously low prices. One victim shared that a scammer claimed to be in the US Army and had to sell a 2004 Ford Expedition fast because of an upcoming deployment to the Middle East. The victim, believing the story wired the scammer $2,500. She claimed that upon receipt of the money, the vehicle would be shipped to her, but it never came. Tracing the wire transfer showed that it was picked up in Louisiana and in another case, the money was retrieved in Mississippi. They cannot discover the identity of the people picking up the money so the victims are out the cash. Three cases have recently been reported to police.
3. Siesta Key rental scam in Sarasota Craigslist
Yet another rental scam has surfaced on Craigslist Sarasota. An ad for a Siesta Key 3 bedroom 2 bath condo offers the rental for $230 per night. Victims have made their reservations online and when they show up at the condo, their reservation is not valid. The condo is real but the listing is a fake that was taken from the legitimate reservation site. These scammers will go to any length to steal your money so make sure that you contact vacation rentals to verify the identity of the owner and make sure that you are dealing with the real owner by doing an online search. Don’t trust online advertisements until you’ve done your homework and confirmed its legitimacy.
4. Lucky victim has a happy ending in Craigslist rental scam
Diane Ferry attempted to rent a Florida property listed on Craigslist. The woman responded to an ad for a two-week home rental. The scammer sent her a rental agreement but had his name at the top She was booking a winter getaway. She wired the third party $2,500 to secure the vacation rental because the scammer told her that his financial adviser was in charge of handling the money. Her granddaughter checked out the local address only to discover that the property was under construction. After further research, they confirmed the scam. Ferry contacted the Fraud department at Paypal and she received all her money back with the exception of a $73 fee. She was one of the lucky ones because most victims never see their money again.
5. Arrests made in Sarasota Craigslist car scam
Con artists were changing the odometer readings on vehicles they were selling on Craigslist in the Sarasota area. This increases the value of the vehicle and makes buyers believe that they’re getting a good deal when they’re not. It’s illegal to tamper with the odometer as these three scammers discovered. They advertised the used cars on Craigslist and sold them to their victims. Upon investigation, the tampering was discovered and the three are looking at stiff penalties including jail terms.