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craigslist Scam Alert

This scam originally surfaced about four (4) years ago and for some time has been out of circulation. It has resurfaced again regarding a home for rent in Ocean County.

The ploy is to copy information from homes that are actually listed for sale on Internet websites, and then repost them as rental opportunities on craigslist. Of course, the homes are not actually for rent and the person responsible for the post is not affiliated with the listed property. The crime occurs when the prospective tenant sends money as a deposit or other rent for the dwelling, and then never actually gets access to the property. THE PROPERTY OWNER IS NOT THE VICTIM OF THE CRIME.

In the meantime, the scam is a nuisance to the owner or occupant of the home as people may randomly come to the property inquiring about the rental or asking to tour the home. Several years back, the scam even went as far in one instance that the victims sent their money to the scammer, then showed up at the house, broke in, changed the locks, and became "squatters" in the property. Unfortunately there is no easy recourse for all involved as pawns in the scam.

CraigsList has a method to "hide" fraudulent posts on their website, but it may seem difficult to actually get a craigslist representative to respond to written or phone inquiries. From craigslist, here are their recommendations.

AVOIDING SCAMS
Deal Locally, face-to-face -  follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
Beware of offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person.
Don't accept cashier/certified checks or money orders - banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.
Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee."
Never give out financial information (bank account, social security, paypal, etc.)
Do not rent or purchase sight unseen - that amazing deal may not exist
Refuse background/credit checks until you have met the landlord/employer in person.

You can read the full set of craigslist recommendations HERE https://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

Internet Fraud is investigated by the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

If you suspect that a craigslist post may be connected to a scam Contact them HERE https://jerseyshore.craigslist.org/contact?step=form&reqType=abuse_scam

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