MADERA COUNTY – Sheriff John Anderson has issued a scam warning to sellers and perspective renters about a landlord impersonation scam targeting both Madera and Fresno Counties.
Homes placed on the market for sale are now appearing on Craigslist as property for rent.
The people behind the scam are pulling information from bonafide home listings posted on the internet by legitimate real estate companies and creating for-rent ads on Craigslist.
At least two homes for sale have been reposted on Craigslist as for rent – one in North Fork, the other in Fresno.
The author of the ad claims to be a missionary who, due to a higher calling, must relocate out of state or out of the country, and claims he would rather rent directly to a good family than use a listing agent, which only costs additional time and money.
The author also says he is is unable to appear on site and instructs perspective renters to feel free to enter the property and look inside the windows of the home. If they decide they want to rent for a specified amount of time, they are to wire $800 along with a rental application. If the perspective renter’s application is approved, a set of house keys will be mailed to them.
Sheriff Anderson urges real estate agencies – for their clients’ benefit as well as their own – to frequently review Craigslist to make sure their detailed listings are not being compromised.
As for people looking for a rental deals, never wire money to anyone, he says. This is not a deposit, it’s a scam.