Imagine looking at ads on Craigslist one day and seeing your family home for rent, only you didn’t post the ad and have no intentions of renting your home.
That’s what happened to Lourdes Guerrero, who owns a home in the greater Los Angeles area, according to CBS2.
A friend reportedly showed Guerrero the ad, and she called the listed phone number. The man on the other end “went silent when she told him she was the homeowner,” according to the CBS2 report.
The news affiliate called the number later and received a “mailbox full” message. Fortunately, the ad did not include Guerrero’s address, according to the report.
‘This is where I’m supposed to feel safe with my kids,’ Guerrero told CBS2. ‘I don’t need random people coming here. That’s scary.’
The situation didn’t end so well for Samantha Sari.
Sari reportedly saw the ad on Craigslist, which listed the home as a rent-to-own for $1,100 per month. When she called about the home she was asked for a $40 application fee and provided her credit card information.
Both women encourage renters to do their homework before paying— good advice given rental scams happen all the time. They usually involve bogus advertisements for desirable rentals at affordable, if not bargain, prices. And, as in this case, you’re asked to submit an application for a ‘background check’ or given another reason that requires personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account or credit card accounts — everything an identity thief needs to make fraudulent charges on your dime or open new accounts in your name.
Craigslist did not immediately respond to request for comment on Guerrero’s story or rental scams ads in general. However, it recommends that users refrain from giving out financial information, not rent or purchase site-unseen and refuse background or credit checks until they have met the landlord, among other things, to avoid scams.