What's the Scam Here and How do You Use Craigslist to Advertise?

12 Replies

I started my STR in Galveston at the end of February this year. I've averaged about 85-90% occupancy so far, and all but one booking has been through AirBnB, the other being VRBO. As we are getting closer to the end of busy season I've started advertising on Craigslist, partly trying to find a snowbird that wants to stay a month or 2 in the winter.

About the only response I've gotten so far are from people claiming to be students, wanting to stay 6-12 months, their parent (usually dad) will pay their rent, and they want me to send them prices and pictures even though it is in the ad.  Once they ask for those i start ignoring them.  

One I did follow down the rabbit hole because they didn't ask for pictures, and I keep hearing craigslist works for others.  Finally we got to the point she said yes and "please send me your name and address so my dad can send you a cashiers check."  At that point I told her we needed to talk on the phone first, we'd have to sign standard renters contract, and i do background/rental/credit checks on longterm stays.  She didn't want to talk on the phone and didn't want to be stressed over a short 3-6 month stay.

So how does this scam end for those that decide to send an address and name?

And how do you make craigslist ads work without all the spam?  I've had one legit lead - someone that actually called me. 

 

Craigslist has been like that forever. I've had more success lately selling things on Facebook marketplace. Probably the best thing to do is have persistence with it. 

id imagine the people trying to get address and your phone number are trying to sell your information. 

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Probably similar to the scam when I was selling my dad’s truck for him on Craigslist....they want to send a full price cashier’s check, have their “transport guy” pick up the vehicle, and title.....when the cashiers check turns out be fake, they already have the truck and title.

If you sign a rental agreement for 2-3 months, they now have a tenant relationship, and you’d have to go through the eviction process, even though their cashier check was fake....they’d just ate your unit for themselves while you went through the process.

Originally posted by @Bruce C.:

 Finally we got to the point she said yes and "please send me your name and address so my dad can send you a cashiers check."  At that point I told her we needed to talk on the phone first, we'd have to sign standard renters contract, and i do background/rental/credit checks on longterm stays.  She didn't want to talk on the phone and didn't want to be stressed over a short 3-6 month stay.

So how does this scam end for those that decide to send an address and name?

 

The scam likely goes like this - they send you the cashiers check and you deposit it and it appears to clear. They’ll later change their mind and decide not to rent the place and ask for a refund. Since the check appeared to clear, most people would refund them the money. However, at some point, the cashiers check will be discovered to be a forgery/fraudulent and the money will be pulled back out of your account and you’ll be out all the money you “refunded” the scammer. 

@Wayne Brooks I hadn't heard of that with cars!  I'll watch out if I sell one.  I don't think the squatting was the intention here since she didn't want to sign a contract.  I think @Kyle J. is probably correct about canceling/faking the cashiers check.  

@George W. i'm trying to get my FB account up to date so i can make a page for my airbnb. I haven't used it in a few years. What's your strategy for advertising through FB marketplace? What i mean is do you just put up an item for sale and have people contact you, put a link to your airbnb page in the ad, or do you have a page created for your STR that you promote?

If you ever do take a cashiers check from a person on Craigslist, call the issuing bank and have them verify the details of the check (google their phone number don’t use one printed on the check) before cashing it.  That can save you a lot of money as you will know the check is bad right away.  Weeded out one of these this way when I sold my car 6 years ago.

I don't list my place on Craigslist. I have been thinking about it. I have had good luck selling stuff there.

But it is full of flakes. I mean full. I never take a check of any kind. Cash only, everyone else walks. 

@Bruce C.

It is for the best to stay off of Craigslist. While you might be able to find someone eventually, you will be wading through a sea of fake cashier's checks and poor renters. There are some people who use it but even if you have good luck there are other risks.

One of the common scams at least in Galveston is listing duplication. Originally this was just for long term rentals. They would copy your photos, description, and even NAME and put it on the market a couple of hundred bucks under your amount. They would get people to sign a lease and then mail a deposit check. People would lose out on a months rent through this scam and have nowhere to live. I've called "myself" before on these fake listings. You can flag them as a scam but they just pop back up.

They've now taken to doing this for short term rentals as well. They will have all of your information posted down to the littlest detail. In fact, many keep the charade up all the way down to a fake lockbox code. Now you have guests at your house who have paid someone else to stay there. These people are embarrassed and normally rather pissed. I've talked with one manager where after being informed they'd been scammed, the guest broke the lockbox and slept in the house until the cops got there.

There was a time that Craiglist was a wonderful tool with a vast variety of uses. Today it is a center of scam, bot listing, and countless issues. While you can list on there, I'd rather be able to 100% deny that any of my listings have ever been on Craigslist if and when the cops, unfortunately, have to get involved.

Just my thoughts. Better safe than sorry!

Originally posted by @Kyle J.:
Originally posted by @Bruce C.:

 Finally we got to the point she said yes and "please send me your name and address so my dad can send you a cashiers check."  At that point I told her we needed to talk on the phone first, we'd have to sign standard renters contract, and i do background/rental/credit checks on longterm stays.  She didn't want to talk on the phone and didn't want to be stressed over a short 3-6 month stay.

So how does this scam end for those that decide to send an address and name?

The scam likely goes like this - they send you the cashiers check and you deposit it and it appears to clear. They’ll later change their mind and decide not to rent the place and ask for a refund. Since the check appeared to clear, most people would refund them the money. However, at some point, the cashiers check will be discovered to be a forgery/fraudulent and the money will be pulled back out of your account and you’ll be out all the money you “refunded” the scammer. 

the other thing I have heard they do is send you a cashiers check for 500 more than they were suppose to .. and say it was a mistake please just send me back the 500.00  same theory though..  personally in my world the only money I accept is wires.. 

Got another one the other day. After I replied to the text saying there would be a phone conversation as well as background check to make sure he wasn’t a scammer, he sent tried to use my phone number to sign up for a google phone account. That causes google to to text my number an activation code. He tried to tell me he needed me to give him that code so that HE could verify IM not a scammer!

So I'm done with Craigslist. Too bad. I'll have to keep looking around to try to fill my STR in the off season. I'm sure I'll still get some traffic from AirBnB, but I'm worried it won't be much.

Got another scam today, and as often as I see coworkers successfully phished, I though I’d post. 

I’ll start by stating I’m very skeptical when I get emails at work, to the point where I will walk down the hall and ask if the email doesn’t contain something “personal.”  For instance, one of my coworkers is dyslexic (on top of being an engineer, how he has made it this far I life...). Anyway, if I get an email from him with a link and no typos, I’m not clicking the link!  My boss used to make fun of me, then our HR mgr got hacked (employee personal info stolen) and our VP approved a PO for $16k to a scammer...

So on to the AirBnB scam. Today I got a request to book from someone with a newly created account. First, the language came off a just a little odd. But then by the end of the message they had a link they wanted me to click AND LOG IN (WTF?!) because they claimed they saw my exact same listing somewhere else.  

I reported the message, and AirBnB killed the account within a few minutes. 

I looked around online, and it appears this has been around for a while, as most scams have been. What I read was that it takes you to another website that looks very much like AirBnB, and when you attempt to log in they get your passwords and try to reroute your payments, possibly also open a few bogus properties.

Moral of the story: don’t click on links

***i removed the full link so no one can accidentally click it***

Hello ,
I'm so interested in your property it's looking so good and I would love to stay .
But i'm little bit confused as I saw the saame property , same pictures and location
advertised for a lower price can you pelase check this link
Гooms12387-airbnҌ.142xxxxx and let me know why like this ?
Thank You I will wait your reply ..
PS : You need to copy paste the link into your browser in order to see the property
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