Spring is here and so are the Scammers!
Spring in Montana brings lots of Real Estate activity. Families start planning their moves. Buyers start looking for a new home to buy. Sellers ready their homes for sale. Renters start looking for new places to rent. Students start watching for places they can rent when they attend one of the Secondary Schools in Great Falls. Scammers start dreaming up new ways to steal your hard earned money.
The rental market is tough in Great Falls and most people go to the Internet to look for a place to rent. Unfortunately two of the larger sites for advertising Real Estate and Rentals also tend to be the ones with the most unscrupulous activity. I am of course referring to Craigslist and Zillow. If you are using one of these sites to search for a rental property – Proceed with Extreme Caution! If it seems too good to be true, there is a good chance the ad is a scam ad.
Today I received my first call of the season on a Craigslist Scam ad on one of my listings. The scammers have stolen my pictures and created their own ad advertising the home for rent. Three big problems: First, the home is for sale, not for rent. If it was for rent it would be for nearly twice what it is advertised for. Second: Someone has already responded to the ad and given out their personal information. I know this because they did a little more research and contacted me. Third: There will be several others that won’t do any research and will believe the scammer. They often use stories about how they are unhappy with their Realtor, or they are out of the country on a Mission. Because the Scammers can be so believable, and the potential renter wants to badly to believe them, they will even wire the Scammer money.
Please use common sense folks and thoroughly check into any home you see for rent on Craigslist or Zillow. Google the address and see if it comes up anywhere else for sale. If so, contact the listing agent. If you still are unsure, contact me. I can look the home up and see if it is listed for sale, and if so verify with the listing agent if it might also be for rent. Use the form below, or just call me at (406) 868-6053.