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Craigslist Scam Targets Renters

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By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The Twin Falls Police Department is warning people about an online scam.

The scammers are using Craigslist to target renters, landlords and in some cases home owners.

The real estate industry is no stranger to scams.

"People would put advertisements on Craigslist and they're asking somebody to wire transfer money and once they receive that wire transfer they'll send them a key to the apartment," said Lt. Craig Stotts, Twin Falls Police Department.

But, it appears the long running Craigslist scam is now evolving.

Earlier this week the police learned what once was an anonymous online scam has now become more personal.

"We've had reports that people are possibly making entry through and open door or window," said Lt. Stotts.

Posing as a landlord or real estate agent, the scammers show the home to the renter asking for a deposit or other payment to hold the house.

So, what are some red flags?

"If there's a for sale sign then you should definitely call the agent and make sure that it is for rent. If they don't see a for rent sign that's a huge indication," said Mandi Riddle, Prudential Real Estate.

Also, a phone number without a voicemail and a rental property substantially below market value are other indicators.

"If it's too good to be true then it probably is," said Lt. Stotts.

But, there is a way to protect yourself.

"Call a local agency and have them double check the tax records and make sure the name that the person is giving you matches up with the name that's on the deed for ownership," said Riddle.

Landlords and real estate agents should also make sure all properties are secured after an open house.

And, it's a good idea to check Craigslist to see if your property is listed.

The scammers are also stealing the renter's personal information by having them fill out a rental application complete with birth date, social security number, and banking information.

If you have any information about these incidents or activity like it, call the Twin Falls Police Department at 735-4357.


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