Craigslist Online Housing Scam

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Updated: 11/10/2011 12:13 pm
Kentucky State Police say a Richmond woman was in the market to rent a home.

So she went on the popular Craigslist website. 

After finding a place she liked, she conversed via email with "owner" until she got suspicious. 

The "owner" requested $800 dollars be sent by Western Union to an overseas location.

"She contacted the Kentucky State Police and we were able to determine that the person she'd been speaking to is actually in Nigeria," says Trooper Paul Blanton.

KSP says the fake "owner" had copy and pasted the actual listing for the home from another site, and put it on Craigslist.

"People will advertise, they'll even use slick photos of the property, showing you how beautiful it is, saying they need to rent it and they'll give you a really cheap price," says Heather Clary of the Better Business Bureau.

Clary notes that the scammer will usually promise to send you the keys to the home once they receive the money.

"Usually when people have done that, they've just wired it to a con artist. They don't get any keys. Some people have turned up at properties ready to move in and turns out that someone was already living there."

Trooper Stanton says the scam is not new, but its the first case seen so far in Central Kentucky.

He says there are red flags to watch for to prevent becoming a victim.

"Anytime someone is reluctant to talk to you face-to-face or even on the phone, that's certainly a tip-off."

Trooper Stanton also say be aware of ads that are worded strangely and look like they have been copy and pasted onto a website.

Those usually suggest that it was created in a foreign country.

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