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A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

March 1, 2010
Scam altert: agents report fake rental postings on Craigslist

Nothing like a relaxing week off and coming back first thing to another real estate scam:

Roseville-based Century 21 real estate agent Renee Baltazar said she's been slammed by phone calls and emails all weekend from people wanting to rent a bank-owned house that SHE HAS IN ESCROW AND IS ABOUT TO SELL.

She showed me an ad that ran on Craigslist on Sunday, Feb. 28, advertising the place for $900 a month, and using the pictures she had in the listing advertisement. The ad told people to respond to her email address at renee_baltazar@yahoo.com

"I've never had a Yahoo account," she said Monday.

People were responding there and getting a message from a nice family saying they had all moved to London for five years and needed to find a renter. It has an application form and everything.

"The public has to be aware of these scams with ," she said.

Her guess is someone is trying to collect a first month and down payment - something like $1,500 or more - and leaving the would-be renter hosed.

To me this sounds like a new variation on a scam I started hearing about two years ago when repos began becoming a factor: people would advertise the property, break in and show prospective renters around. They'd collect the first and last and deposit and run!

These are desperate times. Baltazar advises people to be careful, especially with Craigslist.

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