Scam Alert! Your Vacant Listings Are A Target...

scavenger!I do hope I'm not the last person on the planet to learn of this latest scam. It appears that some lowlife, scumbag, bottom-feeding so-and-so is using vacant listings in order to attract potential renters, receive their deposits and default on their end of the deal.

I just listed this house on Saturday the 12th of January.  My clients moved out the same day.  This past weekend, a woman sees an ad in Craigslist under the "Apts/Homes For Rent" section offering my listing for rent at the bargain price of $700.00.  The poster, whose name is - get this - Clementine Paradise(pictured at left), is supposedly on a missionary stint with her family in West Africa.  She just needs some kind soul to watch over her property while she's away, and the rental amount is actually irrelevant as long as she can find someone she trusts to watch over the house, which is furnished.  

The woman who alerted me to this situation had sent a reply to the post on Craigslist, and had received an e-mail back suggesting that she go to the house to take a look at the exterior, since there was no one available to let her in the house.  Upon arriving at the house, the real estate sign was the first tip-off that something was amiss.  The woman walked around the back of the house and peered into a window; at this point she could plainly see that there were no furnishings, so she got my number off of the sign and gave me a call to see what was going on.

I informed her that this was indeed not a rental.  Luckily, she hadn't gotten any further than checking out the house.  Unfortunately, no one can find the original post since it has since been deleted, so there's no telling how many people responded to the ad, how many unsuspecting victims sent in cashiers checks for $700, and how many will be awaiting a DHL envelope with a fake house key, if they get any envelope at all.

Craigslist and Yahoo are investigating(Yahoo because that's where her e-mail account is), and I've informed the MLS. I'm considering filing a police report.  It's really sad that there are people out there like this who are preying on people at a very stressful time in their lives.  I hope Clemmie gets what's coming to her. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Comment balloon 5 commentsLisa Bosques • January 22 2008 01:00AM


wow unbelievable. I hope they catch these people doing these things and a good tip to keep in mind is if it sounds to good to be true, than maybe it is
Posted by Stephanie Moen (Lazcano), Commercial Property Manager and Leasing Agent (Champions Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago
Ouch, Lisa - that is terrible - wonder how much she got away with... sad - thank you for the heads up.
Posted by Courtney Cooper, 206-850-8841 (Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office) over 12 years ago
Lisa- I took a listing in August. It was a short sale and the owners were out of state. A week after my sign was in the ground, another sign was placed in the from yard- no qualifying owner financing. Another scum bag trying get a deposit from someone. It takes all kinds.
Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 12 years ago
If only we could use our powers for good. Internet regulation is a minefield. Glad it worked out ok.
Posted by Kevin McGrath, Long & Foster Real Estate Companies (Long & Foster Real Estate Companies- Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania) over 12 years ago
thanks for sharing, I have heard that one before
Posted by Chris Frantz (EDU Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago

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