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Some scammers using Craigslist to steal personal information, money

Craigslist can be a great way to connect with a potential new roommate or to find an apartment or home to rent. Unfortunately there are plenty of scammers who may post or reply to ads in an attempt to steal your money or personal information.

One such scenario is when a scammer makes initial contact in responding to an ad on Craigslist for somebody looking for a roommate. However, they say they are unable to visit because they either don’t have the time or that they are overseas. They state their interest in moving and ask how much it would cost to move in.

At that point, the scammer would send a check for more than the total needed to secure the room and will then ask you to send back the difference via wire transfer or Green Dot MoneyPak cards. The check will ultimately bounce and you are responsible for paying back the entire amount to the bank. These scammers only communicate via email, so look for poor grammar and spelling. Always talk to potential roommates over the phone or meet in person. Never wire money in these situations.

The other scenario is when you are looking for a rental property. A good place to look is Craigslist and scammers know this. They oftentimes make up listings that aren’t for rent or don’t even exist. An interested party will contact the “owner” or “landlord” via email and are told that they are out of the country because of work, military service, etc. Victims are asked to wire money overseas for a security deposit and may be asked to fill out a credit application online before even seeing the rental property. Here are some tips to avoid rental scams:

Don’t send money via wire transfer or Green Dot MoneyPak for a deposit. Don’t send for any reason.

The owner is out of the country. Try to use landlords or renters that are local and meet in-person at the property. Research average rental rates in the area and beware if the rate is significantly lower.

Beware of emails that use poor grammar or spelling. Don’t give out personal information such as social security number, bank account or credit card number.

Do your homework and research the owner and/or landlord. Please contact the Mid-Missouri BBB at or (573) 886-8965 if you have any questions.

Article Topic Follows: News

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