WICHITA, Kan. - It's a popular Craigslist search- the hunt to rent a house. Checking out pictures of that property that might become your next home.
But some scammers are posting fake listings- pictures of homes that aren't even for sale or rent. They may say demand is high, pressuring for a quick sale, without you getting to see the home.
After receiving a deposit and first month's rent, the scammers disappear. The victim never setting one foot inside the house.
"If somebody has an excuse to why they can't show you the house and they want you to sign a lease and send money prior to even looking at the home, that's a big red flag," says Denise Groene, State Director of the Kansas Better Business Bureau.
Groene says many legitimate property management companies and landlords do post listings on Craigslist. But it's up to you, the tenant, to do your homework.
You should meet the owner, visit the home, and look around. And make sure the home actually is up for rent.
"These scammers aren't necessarily even in our community taking these pictures," Groene says. "They can be anywhere, using Google images, creating these fictitious ads and people are falling for it."
Always be wary of homes with prices that are substantially lower than others in the same area. That's meant to get you to agree to a quick sale.
And never send cash, wire transfers, or MoneyPak cards. The trail can't be traced and your money can't be recovered.