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.”

Before we get started, we truly appreciate all the great
feedback on last week’s ScamLines issue. The results were
crystal clear: 96% loved or liked ScamLines a lot. Your
comments were also very useful — thank you.

For those of you who missed last week’s issue, we tried
something new: href="http://www.scambusters.org/scamlines.html">ScamLines: What’s
New?. ScamLines brings you
the headline details of the latest cons. Be sure to check it out.

Based on the great feedback, we’ve decided to continue
ScamLines. Read this week’s href="http://www.scambusters.org/scamlines/2.html">ScamLines issue now.

(Based on your feedback — and how much time it takes us to
create ScamLines — we’ll decide on how often to run ScamLines
in the future.)

And as always, we suggest you visit last week’s most
popular articles from our other websites:

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target="_blank">identity theft when you travel with these need to
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Using Snapfish to Store your Photos: Follow these href="http://www.photosharingnuggets.com/2008/03/using-snapfish-to-store-your-photos.html"
target="_blank">Snapfish tips to achieve foolproof photo storage.

What You Need To Know About Police Charity Donations: Before you
write that donation to a href="http://www.consumertipsreports.org/what_you_need_to_know_about_police_charity_donations.html"
target="_blank">police charity, here are some things
you need to know.

Safe Tanning: Is It a Myth or Is It Reality? Don’t assume you’re href="http://www.consumersavvytips.org/safe_tanning_is_it_a_myth_or_is_it_reality.html"
target="_blank">getting a safe tan until you read these
surprising facts.

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 Craigslist.com 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 Craigslist.com 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.

Craigslist.com, 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 target="_blank" rel="nofollow">avoiding scams from Craigslist on their site.

Here is information on a similar related scam: href="http://www.scambusters.org/overpayment.html">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!