Scammer picked up my property

5 Replies

After spending all of last spring and summer working diligently on my latest flip, I got it on the market in the middle of October, just in time for a cooling buyer pool. We got a buyer after a couple weeks and then they fell through right around Thanksgiving.  When it went back on to active on the market, we've had consistently strong showings and interest.  

Just after Christmas, some scammer put a couple pieces together - slow sale on this property and the previous owner passed away.  This person put a ridiculous posting on Craigslist for rent at about half market value including utilities.  They tell the contacts that they get from this that they are the owner, give name of dead guy, and that they were transferred to another state for work for a 5 year assignment.  They're giving up on selling because the agent priced it ridiculously high and it's just not selling. They'll overnight the key to you if you wire the odd dollar amount deposit and first month's rent to them.  If you need to see the home before renting, just go look through the windows.  And, they'll see to it that the sign is removed from the front yard before you move in next week. And, all their communication is via text or email because they are "deaf".

Now I get to field calls all day and all night attempting to verify the identity or legitimacy of this person's claims.  I've attempted to report it as scam to Craigslist and asked all callers to do the same.  There are tons of foot prints in the snow all around the house from all the people who have been sent to trespass onto my property to see this home via a scam outfit. I've thought about posting a sign on the door about protecting yourself from scammers, but don't want that to discourage potential buyers!

I've still got good traffic to view the property and have lowered the price to make it more attractive for buyers.

I've put out an education regarding scams on my webpage, facebook, etc. 1) If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. 2) If you are going to rent a property, do not pass any money without an in-person contact - a trustworthy property manager, landlord, or real estate agent.    

Any suggestions to help overcome this unfortunate challenge?!!

Many of us have had this same scenario. There isn't much you can do about it and from my experience contacting CL is a waste of time...and even sometimes contacting LE. If you find it posted, just flag it and move on. 

There was a home I put offers in to flip, however was outbid and lost it. About a year later the other flipper listed it for sale and out of curiosity I scheduled an appointment to see it. About 5 minutes before the appointment we got a call from the agent that she can't show the house, there was a lockbox issue. We were maybe 30 seconds from the house, so we stopped anyway, and peaked in through the windows only to see ugly old furniture (odd for staging). Just as we were walking out, a truck pulled in with the owners in it. They actually didn't care that we were there, however the gist of it, as the police arrived, was a scammer rented the house to someone who paid cash. These people then broke the lock box and gave the renters a key. The renters then had their possessions moved in. I couldn't believe that was happening, but I was told it has become common place... Sounds like you have a target house now. In the end I am not sure how to actually prevent it, other than to place a not for rent sign on the house and hope they don't remove it.

Originally posted by @Melissa Gregg :

After spending all of last spring and summer working diligently on my latest flip, I got it on the market in the middle of October, just in time for a cooling buyer pool. We got a buyer after a couple weeks and then they fell through right around Thanksgiving.  When it went back on to active on the market, we've had consistently strong showings and interest.  

Just after Christmas, some scammer put a couple pieces together - slow sale on this property and the previous owner passed away.  This person put a ridiculous posting on Craigslist for rent at about half market value including utilities.  They tell the contacts that they get from this that they are the owner, give name of dead guy, and that they were transferred to another state for work for a 5 year assignment.  They're giving up on selling because the agent priced it ridiculously high and it's just not selling. They'll overnight the key to you if you wire the odd dollar amount deposit and first month's rent to them.  If you need to see the home before renting, just go look through the windows.  And, they'll see to it that the sign is removed from the front yard before you move in next week. And, all their communication is via text or email because they are "deaf".

Now I get to field calls all day and all night attempting to verify the identity or legitimacy of this person's claims.  I've attempted to report it as scam to Craigslist and asked all callers to do the same.  There are tons of foot prints in the snow all around the house from all the people who have been sent to trespass onto my property to see this home via a scam outfit. I've thought about posting a sign on the door about protecting yourself from scammers, but don't want that to discourage potential buyers!

I've still got good traffic to view the property and have lowered the price to make it more attractive for buyers.

I've put out an education regarding scams on my webpage, facebook, etc. 1) If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. 2) If you are going to rent a property, do not pass any money without an in-person contact - a trustworthy property manager, landlord, or real estate agent.    

Any suggestions to help overcome this unfortunate challenge?!!

 Standard scam. This one is almost as common as the African prince or out of country lottery scam. I would simply report it to Craigslist & move forward.

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