Officials Warn About Craigslist Real Estate Scam

POSTED: 11:02 PM Jan 13 2011   UPDATED: 11:28 PM Jan 13 2011

The Shasta County District Attorney's office issued a warning Friday about rental housing scams on Craigslist.

They say overseas scam artists are using Craigslist to list homes as being available for rent. The scam artist will post pictures of a legitimate home being sold by a local real estate agent, but change the wording to show the home being for rent at a very low rate.

When a victim responds to the ad, the scam artist will tell the victim they are overseas on a mission, and ask the victim to wire the deposit. Once the money is sent, the victim never hears from the scam artist again.

The District Attorney's office suggests the following tips to avoid being defrauded:

* Google the address, see if it is for sale, contact the listing agent to confirm if home is a rental. * Always conduct a face to face interview and tour of the rental. * Write down the license plate of the person showing you the rental. * Do not give any money until contract is signed by you and the landlord. * Get a receipt on any money transfers. * Do not send money overseas.

To report this scam or get more information, call the Real Estate Fraud Unit at the Shasta County District Attorney's Office at 245-6350.