We've said it before, you've probably heard others warn of it, but we're saying it again. Don't rent a Vero Beach home on Craigslist!
More and more people all over the country are falling prey to an all-too-familiar scam. They pose as the owner of a property they find listed on Craigslist and collect rent or a deposit to rent. Then, the nightmare begins.
Here's how one couple who sent $3000 for a house rental lost their $3000.00, and no house to use for their wedding…
Although not all listings to rent a Vero Beach home on Craigslist are fraud attempts, it's smart to take extra precautions when buying or renting from any stranger online (whether on Craigslist or eBay or another buy-and-sell site). Here are a few things you can do before and during the transaction to make sure you don't get ripped off. Many scams feature the same telltale signs:
- An abundance of spelling and grammatical errors. A typo here and there is forgivable, but when a listing is riddled with poor English, it's an indication an overseas scammer posted the ad using automated translators—or the person behind the ad just doesn't care about the listing. Either way, you probably want to stay clear.
- Generic product photos. Look for real photos instead of the typical product pics or photos found elsewhere on the web. It's hard to believe the seller actually has the item in question if he's using PR photos. Many times, when it comes to a Vero Beach home, they'll use the actual photo of a home they either found online or took themselves of a home that may be for sale or rent.
- Ad posted in multiple places. Sellers are only allowed to post their ad in one city. If you see the same ad posted word for word in a distant city, that's a huge red flag. You can search all Craigslist sites at once with previously mentioned Search All Craig's or more recently highlighted Craiggers. Search Google for the ad wording to see if it's been posted elsewhere or check the Craigslist Scammers blog dedicated to just this purpose.
- Too good to be true. The biggest telltale sign of a Craigslist (or other) scam is if the ad promises a ridiculously good deal. When you're buying (or renting) from sellers seemingly desperate to get rid of their used stuff, it's hard to know what's a true offer or just bait for your personal info. Know what your product is selling or renting for and, if you have any doubt, pass on it.
Craigslist offers other common sense rules to avoid scams, including only meeting in person for local listings, never wiring any money, and never giving out any personal or financial information.
Your best bet, ALWAYS use a trusted real estate agent when looking to rent a Vero Beach home. Never do it online, and never send money for a deposit before you verify the actual property you're discussing is actually for sale or for rent.