Craigslist is an American classified advertisement website that has sections dedicated to specific needs such as jobs, items for sale, items that are wanted, special services, community events, gigs, resumes, discussion forums, and housing both for sale and for rent. The website was started in 1995 purely as an email distribution list that featured local ads and events in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The service quickly expanded and then began branching out across the United States by the 2000s. The website now covers 70 countries. One of the most frequently used aspects of the site includes searches and ads for rental homes.
However, despite the popularity of Craigslist, scamming and other dangers on the website have become increasingly more common. Recently, KTTC reported that a man in Rochester, New York was unknowingly involved in a Craigslist scam. He caught on when a couple showed up at his 100-year-old house, asking about the rent-to-own advertisement they had been looking at on Craigslist.
Kurt Jorgensen, the man whose home was being used to scam unsuspecting Craigslist users out of money, is now warning others about this type of scam before someone loses money. His advice is, if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. The couple who came to his home sometime last week informed Jorgensen that they saw photographs and a description of his home on Craigslist, listed as a rent-to-own option. Jorgensen told reporters that his home is actually on the market currently, but it’s listed with a realtor as for sale.
“They wanted to look at the house for the rent-to-own Craigslist ad and I said ‘I’m sorry I haven’t listed anything on Craigslist. I think that’s a scam.'”
The Craigslist scammer had taken photographs from Jorgensen’s real estate listing and used them to create a fake Craigslist ad that claimed his home was for rent. The scammer communicated with the young couple looking at the ad, requesting money for the rental up front. The couple did not send any funds, and Jorgensen has now reported the scammer to Craigslist where the listing has since been removed so that others cannot be fooled by the fictitious advertisement.
“One of the biggest purchases of your life is a home. Whether you’re going to rent to own or actually own a home. Don’t trust the internet.”
The realtor who is handling Jorgensen’s home, Gwaltney Group, also reported the listing to Craigslist and to the Multiple Listing Service. They say that scams such as this happen all of the time, and they have personally seen this type of scam on several occasions in recent years.