This was my new apartment and it had all worked out. Also, it’s a good idea to use Google Maps for your property verification. Considering the fact that Craigslist isn’t an official rental service you can be asked to pay some deposit directly to the owner using PayPal, Western Union and so on. It wasn't long after I had met with Kim's "landlord," Michael Bryant, signed the sublease, and paid first and last month's rent that I began to question the decision I had just made. There are just a lot of people peddling steaming piles of shit. Use some other platforms to look for similar offers. Last year alone, the Ocean City Police Department received 20 complaints of rental fraud, 86% of which originated on Craigslist. When you list a house for rent in Craigslist, you might be tempted to leave it at that. Part of HuffPost News. Now, there was nothing I could do. Just surf through the account a little so you can be sure it’s not a scammer. They worked. I laughed off my friend's comments that I was paranoid and crazy. Compare your research results with the sum you’ve been asked on Craigslist. If it seems like red flags are popping up everywhere, it’s … I had enough funds in my savings to front the massive initial deposit, but I was hesitant to lock myself into a year-long lease -- especially since the situation with my preferred roommates had fallen through. Found a rental that is too cheap or it’s an extremely good bargain? Follow this advice to stay safe when you use Craigslist We arranged a meeting to see her apartment on E. 9th St. While receiving text inquiries about your item up for sale is … Suspicious postings often linger for as long as 20 hours before being removed—more than enough time to snare victims, especially in competitive housing markets. Extra photos are a great opportunity whether it’s a real listing. Most of the shared rooms I've looked at are cramped and dirty, and the person renting them are mostly shady or seem like they're on something. So I instead opted for a short sublet and began scouring Craigslist and other sites for something that would work in a pinch. It’s always a good option to look for the owner on the Internet and social media. Also, Craigslist is known to be full of scams. According to the data of 2017, there were about 55 million scam bookings and travelers all over the world lost millions of dollars. If a rental situation seems the slightest bit shady, question everything. Kim and Michael were in the wind, and I was left holding keys to an apartment I had no claim to. I beat myself up everyday over how I ignored the warning signs, didn't trust my instincts and chose instead to put my faith in someone I met through Craigslist. I should have stopped and done what I'm trained to do as a journalist -- my research. We’ve prepared for you some tips that can help you to avoid scams on Craigslist. Maybe it’s just a trap to catch some oblivious vacationers or maybe the owner just really looks for somebody to fill the space. You’re informed. Considering the fact that Craigslist isn’t an official home rental platform, it’s widely used by scammers. How to Safely Sublet an Apartment Through Craigslist. When something is too good to be true, it probably is. I've already heard it all, so don't even bother. Scammers just need some photos and apartment description copied from any official site, low rental price and security deposit that is transferred directly to the “host”. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. If the photos are small or blurry, or there are only two or three images, avoid such offers. Some buyers or sellers may try to reassure you … I've learned more than I ever wanted to know about Internet crime, consumer fraud, grand larceny, and how to run a sublet scam. The website receives the highest traffic of people looking for apartments on Sundays. As long as you use your common sense and remain wary of anything that looks too good to be true, Craigslist office space listings are another useful tool to help you find a commercial property rental. Just don't overlook the warning signs and ignore your gut because you're caught up in the moment. Today is National Voter Registration Day! Culturally speaking, however, the Craigslist team wants to sustain a non-corporate, non-commercial nature as a part of promoting its overall public service mission. Sure there were some potential red flags along the way, but that could just be me overanalyzing the situation, right? Also, it’s better to use your credit card for such payments as it can provide you with some extra protection. And Kim was not renting the apartment. While the majority of vacation rentals posted are not ours, we do see about 6-10 per month that are, like Upstream Cottage in the image below. My concerns were allayed. A Case of ‘It’s Too Good To Be True’ If you see a deal on Craigslist that is an incredibly low price, or … You’re unstoppable. Also, look for the rental you’ve chosen on other platforms such as Airbnb or HomeAway, and check what photos are added there. Let me be clear: Craigslist is not to blame. I learned there was no Michael Bryant. The world is full of all different kinds of people, and so … I wanted so badly to trust humanity -- to believe that this was just kismet, and could only happen in New York. I’m not saying it’s bad, as a whole. To say I've learned my lesson would be an understatement. Craigslist has listings for apartments / housing for rent in the Vancouver, BC area. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Craigslist has no official mobile app, and while it's not particularly difficult to create an ad using your mobile browser, it's definitely easier with the Facebook app. Before making any payments (security or rental deposits, or any other payments), call the owner to have a little conversation with him or her. In fact, the service provides millions of rental apartment offers yearly and lots of them are short-term rentals. Be Careful Sending Money. This way, the scammer can verify their account using your phone number and then use their Craigslist account for various activities. All rights reserved. Why didn't you question that? Researchers estimate that a quarter of all Craigslist rental postings are scams. 1. Advertising in as many areas as possible will help you to expand your tenant pool. I suggest you read it. For example, you can ask about good restaurants and interesting places near an apartment, parking conditions and so on. They were unreachable. The agreement should contain such info as: If the owner of the apartment you want to rent cannot provide you with the agreement, you shouldn’t rent it for sure. Never Wire Money. There are lots of scammers on this platform. When I tried following up with Kim and the "landlord" to discuss the apartment, I realized both of their phones were turned off. There is always another apartment. It’s a total nightmare for a traveler as you come to your rental just to learn it doesn’t exist or your booking is invalid. But still, it’s better to look for vacation rentals using some official rental platforms. It can be useful when there are any difficulties and you cannot get hold via phone. That is the highest number of fraud cases since at least 2011. A general rule is that if it looks too good to be true, especially if they use stock photos or the apartment is empty, it probably is. --- is the 2nd question in the "Top Questions" on the right hand side of the forum page. They had already duped several young 20-something women out of more than $20,000 around the East Village. If you want to avoid this horrible trap, just use our tips for vacation rental on Craigslist. You cannot be sure for 100% so just do some research. If you are asked to pay a safety deposit, check some official platform to learn what similar listings ask for it. Craigslist is No Help: I actually kept going on Craigslist for two weeks, flagging new ads that the scam artist was putting up. There are just a lot of people peddling steaming piles of shit. I was caught up in the con, and the fantasy that I could find an awesome, affordable apartment the day after I lost one. And a … Considering the fact that Craigslist isn’t an official rental service you can … Monitor Craigslist during the week when management companies are more apt to post new openings. Lastly, trust your gut. Craigslist is an online classified site that allows users to post free ads. Finally, remember the # 1 Craigslist rule and you’ll avoid all problems. © 2020 Copyright by Travel Safe - Abroad. Safeguard Your Privacy on Your Listing. Don’t send any money if you aren’t sure that the listing was made by the owner or the agency in charge. The Safest Way to Exchange Money Over Craigslist. In fact, she had changed the keys because someone had complained that they had been subjected to a sublease scam in the building. more than $20,000 around the East Village. I liked the space. I'm not saying it's bad, as a whole. I've been looking at a lot of shared rooms advertised on craigslist, because it's difficult to find a private bedroom around here for under $500 a month. Even though getting an email or invoice from Craigslist may seem legit, it isn't -- scammers have been known to use a fake "Craigslist Purchase Protection" plan to scam users. She was friendly, personable and great at small talk. Craigslist Vacation Rentals: Are They Safe. She provided just enough details about her life to draw me in without saying too much to make me question the specifics. So don’t go sour on the idea of renting from an owner instead of from a hotel! "Why are vacation apartment rentals a bad idea in NYC?" Craigslist’s convenience can make seem like the best available option to rent office space, especially if you’re hoping for a quick move-in. Craigslist is the modern version of the classifieds that formerly propagated the newspapers. There is a high possibility that it’s a scam! There could be legal claims to come, but first they need to track down the two cons. While learning how to list on Craigslist is an important task for landlords, you also need to remember that you should never just make an advertisement in one place. There are scammers galore on Craigslist, and some of them are more sneaky than others. So I write this now to warn others -- whether they be naïve newbies, or overly trusting long-time residents -- to listen to your gut. The website is completely free to use and is available to anyone willing to work within the company’s stated guidelines. In addition to pictures, watch out for lots of asterisks or caps-lock heavy posts. I know you've probably heard that before, but no words could be truer -- especially when it comes to renting in New York. You care. If it’s posted by the real owner, he or she can always provide you with some extra photos without any difficulties. Legally speaking, Craigslist is a for-profit company. Below are some tips on how to safely rent housing from Craigslist. Know what you’re looking for in a roommate. Nevertheless, there are lots of fraudulent groups that post fake listings and steal people’s money. 2. In fact, there is no certain answer to the question of whether Craiglist safe or not. Also, you can ask for some other contacts such as email. Now, how can you get maximum visibility in Craigslist’s search engine? ©2020 Verizon Media. We hit it off right away and I thought I had lucked into a great situation at the precise time I desperately needed one. Practicing caution when meeting someone from Craigslist is only the start of the safety checklist when using the site. Indeed, here's the process: Look for the owner’s account on Facebook, Instagram or other platforms to find out whether it’s a real person. My worst fears were confirmed. In the end, you always lose. However, if you plan to use these classifieds frequently, you will need to know how to spot a scam on Craigslist. The actual landlord did not grant anyone permission to put an ad on Craigslist and was not renting any of the apartments. 5 Ways to Get Wild Experiences in Wyoming, Where to Stay in Chicago: The Best Places, 5 Exciting Reasons to Live in Trees in the US. I could report the con to the local NYPD precinct and file a flurry of complaints with federal, state and city authorities. I've heard several fairytale stories about how renters have found amazing roommates or lucky breaks on the site. It's more than a month later, and this chain of events still keeps me up at night. Just ask for the rental’s address and search for it. But I didn't. Fake listing is a widely used trick to get money from people who look for vacation rentals. Trust your instincts. Now, from the beginning: I needed to vacate my apartment by Jan. 31 and my housing situation fell through at the last minute. As Craigslist says online, ‘Deal locally with folks you can meet in person. Just think of the reasons for such a low price. Most people who list properties for rent are legitimate. The best way to avoid scams is a rental agreement and any legal owner or agency should be able to provide you with these papers. If there is no phone number in the description, use Craigslist to get in touch with the owner and ask for phone number. Also, remember that Craigslist is usually a safe space to operate. There are a lot of good online resources for this, and one of the most popular is Craigslist. Just keep in mind that normally, good offers contain plenty of good-quality photos. Craigslist is an online, classified ad website with various sections devoted to Housing, Jobs, Second-Hand Items, Roommates, Dating, and more. Craigslist can be a great place to buy all kinds of items — but you’ve got to be careful or it could cost you your life. Don’t try to contact the owner using social media as it’ll make you look really creepy. The 36-year-old woman went on Craigslist calling herself Sarah Goldberg and told several people she had an apartment to rent, provided lease agreements to some of … It’s your opportunity to make sure that you have a point of contact if there are any issues. That feeling in the pit of my stomach must have just been a fluke. That's when I met Kim. Craigslist can be a great service for looking vacation rental apartment but still, there is a risk to fall into some scam. There is always another solution. I’ve heard several fairytale stories about how renters have found amazing roommates or lucky breaks on the site. I was their ninth victim to come forward. Make the most of your reading with comments, events and more. I had handed over all my information to the police, and the case was in their hands. Let me be clear: Craigslist is not to blame. All in all, I was lucky no one actually got scammed, and I found a great family to rent … All craigslist postings are free, except for: Job postings in US and selected CA areas—$10-75 (fee varies by area) Apartment rentals in Boston, Chicago, and NYC areas—$5; Commercial real estate in the US—$5; All for sale by-dealer categories in the US—$3-5 We’re notified through IFTTT every time any vacation rental is posted on Craigslist in our region so we’re able to safe guard against a Yonder home staying on Craigslist for more than a couple of hours. But, just to be sure I checked the keys to make sure they worked shortly after I signed the sublease. Get in touch with the owner and ask him some specific questions. Simple Craigslist precautions ensure a fun — and safe — website exchange ... American sloop that she is attempting to sell on Craigslist. Follow these tips to make your Craigslist experience a safe and profitable one. As it turns out, "Kim" and "Michael" -- or "Emma" and "David" -- had pulled this con before. So I started doing some research -- something I should have done from the beginning. But it’s one of the lowest posting dates. It’s your opportunity to check whether it really exists and matches the photos on the platform. Well, not exactly. Add your voice! However, you’ll still have to review (and hopefully negotiate) the terms of your lease, which without a lawyer and real estate professional’s help can be a multi-month slow and frustrating process. I had been swindled, and there was nothing I could do. But, most importantly, I've learned what it feels like to be on the wrong side of a con. Never use your debit card as scammers can get access to your bank account easily. Important conversations are happening now. Also, learn security deposit laws of your destination and compare it with the owner’s requirements. You would think after the same ad got flagged ten times, someone might look into it. Nevertheless, if you are attentive and cautious enough, you can avoid all problems and find an excellent place to stay. When using Craigslist to find your next apartment, pay attention to the following tips: 1. This classified ad site is a great way to find locally offered goods and services, but just like any time you use an anonymous online service, you have to be cautious of scammers. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! You should've known better. If a landlord or property owner insists on you wiring money to secure a property, … Browse photos and maps and search by location, price, and amenities. The Craigslist verification code scam is a malicious scheme used to associate your phone number with the scammer’s Craigslist account. If the person doesn’t want to provide you with contact info, it’s time to forget about this offer. Look for other similar offers in your destination and check their price. There are chip offers and house swaps, short-term and long-term rentals. Don't let anything or anyone pressure you -- whether it's an impeding move date or the fear that you won't get that apartment. So there is a question whether it’s safe to rent an apartment for vacation using Craigslist? It's difficult for me to write this, because in doing so I'm admitting that I was the victim of an elaborate con. If there is no concrete and quick answer, there is a high possibility of a scam. A great venue for selling locally, Craigslist can be useful for unloading your old wares. My stomach dropped. Find the perfect place. Never trust third parties to verify your transactions. Craigslist fails to identify more than half of scam rental listings on the site's pages. Craigslist can be a great resource for buying and selling things. How could you have fallen for it? 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