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Rental Scams: How to Spot & Report Them

Updated: Jan 23, 2023


A WVMLS Member recently reported that their Active listing was fraudulently posted "For Rent" on Craigslist by scammers.


Craigslist was used in this instance, but Zumper and Facebook Marketplace are also a few of the common platforms for false rentals pulled from legitimate real estate ads. Fraudsters use this ploy to trick potential renters into sending application fees or deposits before they find out the HOME IS FOR SALE, not for rent at all!


While we don't know of any way to prevent this illegal practice, we recommend the following:


A) Communicate with all your sellers about rental scams. Ask them to report anything to you that doesn't seem right while the listing is Active.


B) Search the property address on Google....Often. Finding these scams and shutting them down quickly is the way to go. Consider setting up a Google Alert for the address.


C) Consider placing a placard or sign in the property window stating the property is NOT FOR RENT.


As a listing broker, if your listing is hijacked, here's what to do next:

  1. Take Notes - Take screenshots and take down the contact information listed and where fraudulent listings were posted.

  2. Contact the rental website(s) - Have website remove the listings immediately.

  3. Report findings to the FTC

  4. Report scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center

  5. Report scram to local law enforcement - Just in case there was someone in the community who fell for the scam.




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