Scammers hijack rental ads to swindle would-be tenants

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 7:21 PM CST
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A nice house in a good neighborhood will catch the attention of any potential renter.

But it’s not just landlords who know that and their ads are being hijacked.

Excited about a Craigslist rental ad, Naomi Chasey Bennett was shocked to hear about the house she hoped to rent.

The ad was so appealing, Naomi showed photos of the updated home that rented for $1,000 a month and all utilities paid.

“That’s a really good deal for such a nice place, maybe God is answering a prayer,” she said.

An email from the scammers claims the owner moved to Alabama and he has nobody to show the house.

“But you can go ahead and send the money and they’ll make sure to mail a key,” she said.

Chris Young, the actual landlord of the property, said that’s a red flag.

This potential tenant targeted by the scammers didn’t give them any money but did provide some important personal information thinking this house was for rent.

Bennett says she texted back a rental application to the phony landlord.

“They have my name. First and last name. They wanted my Social Security number. They have my address, my phone number and now obviously I see from anything and everything you can scam somebody.”

The real landlord says Bennett isn’t alone and many others also answered the phony ad.

Young said, “What they’ll do is they go on there and copy my ad and download all my photos and they’ll repost it. They take my information off and put their information on there, so you’re calling them, you’re not calling me.”

Young warns of scammers hijacking his rental information to make victims feel at home sending them money.