Craigslist Warning: Selling a Home? Be Sure Scammers Don’t Rent It First

New scams on Craigslist and ticket resale sites like StubHub: Internet ScamBusters #277

Today we have two interesting Snippets for you:

  • Craigslist Warning: Selling a Home? Be Sure Scammers Don’t “Rent” It First
  • For Scammers, Online Ticket Buyers are “Big Game.”

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Time to get going…

Craigslist Warning: Selling a Home?
Be Sure Scammers Don’t “Rent” It First

Planning to sell your home soon?

If so, keep an eye on after you (or your realtor) place an ad in the local paper or post information on the Internet’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Otherwise, your property may become the “bait” that lures unwitting victims into forking over hundreds or thousands of dollars to scammers.

In a number of recent cases, scammers have taken information from real estate ads placed in local newspapers — and also scanned photos of the houses for sale — and posted classified ads on that have convinced potential renters that THEY (the scammers) were renting these houses.

In some instances, scammers wanted just a little money from a LOT of people. They exchanged emails with victims, claiming they (the fake landlords) were outside the country. Then, they asked the victims to send small sums to receive copies of the house keys, so the victims can walk through the premises themselves.

In other cases, scammers actually gained access to vacant houses, gave tours to the prospective renters, and accepted deposits for renting the properties., the world’s largest online classified ad service, offers the following advice to people visiting them:

  • “Deal locally with folks you can meet in person.
  • “Never wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other wire service — anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • “Fake cashier checks and money orders are common, and banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • “Craigslist is not involved in any transaction, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer ‘buyer protection’ or ‘seller certification.'”

You can find more information on avoiding scams from Craigslist on their site.

Here is information on a similar related scam: the overpayment scam.

Finally, Craigslist is obviously not the only place this scam can occur. Be wary of any listing anywhere that has these telltale signs.

For Scammers, Online Ticket Buyers are “Big Game”

Getting good seats to a “hot” sporting event or music concert can be like finding gold nuggets buried in your backyard — possible, but unlikely.

Unlikely, that is, unless you visit one of the fast-growing online ticket-resale sites, including StubHub, RazorGator or TicketsNow, which let you buy (or bid on) hard-to-find tickets for almost any “must-see” event.

But beware! People desperate to make the big game are also “big game” for scammers. In some instances, fans have found themselves holding seats nowhere near each other, sitting in the “nosebleed” section, or stuck at the entrance with counterfeit tickets.

Although StubHub, the largest ticket auction resale site after eBay (and now owned by eBay) guarantees to replace tickets or provide a refund if you receive bogus merchandise, scammers have ways of getting around this guarantee.

A friend recently visited StubHub, where she bid on tickets to a Washington Redskins game. Unfortunately, she then made a classic mistake. She agreed to deal directly with the seller at a “buy now” price, despite two “red flags”:

  • The seller claimed she was having “problems” with PayPal, and requested a Western Union wire transfer (cash).
  • The wire payment instructions email, allegedly from StubHub, listed the wrong town as the stadium’s location.

Based on a later phone call to StubHub, it appears the scammer forged the company’s payment instructions email, substituting her own Western Union account for StubHub’s account.

Needless to say, our friend never saw the tickets, and never heard from the “seller” again.

This scam has occurred before, according to a representative from StubHub, which warns its customers NOT to deal directly with sellers.

To avoid our friend’s fate, follow these helpful tips:

  • Never pay with a cashier’s check or wire money to the seller, since you’ll have no way to recover your money if the tickets don’t arrive.
  • When buying from an online auction site, be sure the seller has a recent history of sales to satisfied customers. Scammers sometimes hijack old and unused accounts.
  • Always purchase your tickets through the site’s official channels. Never purchase directly from the seller.

Getting tickets from reputable online sources can make it possible to enjoy the kinds of views at baseball and football games that were once (literally) reserved for season ticket holders and their friends.

But if you play it safe, you’ll enjoy a great view of the field safely.

That’s a wrap for this issue. Wishing you a great week!