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Posted 11/12/2010 on our local Board of REALTORS® website:

Rental scams continue: individuals lift listing information from any number of sites where it is advertised, create a fraudulent For Rent ad, place it on craigslist or any number of For Rent sites, ask for deposits or confidential application information. Report to FBI Cyber Crimes Unit at

In mid-October, I got a call from a young lady about one of my company's listings. She said she'd found it on Craigslist. I was intrigued, because I no longer use Craigslist for marketing my listings. Ads are too often mis-flagged by competitors and used by spammers to send me email about all sorts of medications I'm not particularly interested in.

As it turns out, someone had taken information about my company's listing - including information from our listing service and the photo I had taken of the property - and created an ad purportedly offering the house for rent.

The house isn't for rent. It's for sale.

I sent a message to the poster of the ad requesting more information. Here's what I got in return:

Hello Tenant,

God bless you for your interest about my Beautiful Single Family Home .I am very sorry for the late response,it was due to my wife illnesss but i hope she gets better soon.Yes is still available for rent. I am renting this house to a responsible and neat person or family who has the fear of God and treat my house as his or her own.Presently I and my wife have work for USAID.USAID works in agriculture, democracy & governance, economic growth, the environment, education, health, global partnerships, and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries to provide a better future for all.USAID still faces an uncertain future. In many developing countries, HIV/AIDS and health issues are having a dramatic impact on social cohesiveness and economic strength, blocking the very development goals we seek. Virtually all the new democracies in the world today are fragile; others are democracies more in name than substance. Nearly a quarter of the people living in developing countries, or about one billion people, live in absolute poverty. There are a host of other threats - ranging from terrorism to infectious disease and violent conflict - that challenge us and the developing nations we seek to help.Here is USAID Web address:-

... blah blah blah...

So get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home.Hope you are okay with the price of $700 and the security deposit $400.Dishwasher, Outside Smoking OK, Utilities Included,and so on. PETS ARE WELCOME!

Stay bless and God bless you....

Await your reply

Gee. I'm sure that's a real message sent from a real, hard-working homeowner trying to rent the home they love so dearly.