Consumer advocates urge vigilance over rental scam
BATON ROUGE- Consumer advocates are warning you to be alert tonight for a real estate scam that's definitely too good to be true.
A homeowner in Southdowns told WBRZ that they posted an ad on Craigslist to rent out their home for $1,900. Then they said someone took those pictures and posted a duplicate ad, dropping the price to $600 and including someone else's contact information.
Repairman Mark Andrews said he's been working on the property for the homeowner, and that he had to put up a sign which says "Craigslist Scam" for all the people attracted by the fake ad.
"I got approximately in two days a little over one dozen people once I put the sign up, there were a bunch of cars that came by and slowed down," Andrews said.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit contacted the scammer, who replied with a fake lease. If you would like to read it, click here.
Jim Stalls with the Better Business Bureau says this should be a wake-up call for everyone doing business online.
"If they are starting to ask for stuff up front, deposit or credit card information, you run a chance of identity theft and they could drain your credit or debit cards," Stalls said.
In this case, Stalls said all age groups are now targets of the scams that have found their way on the internet.
"Use your common sense," Stalls reiterated. "You have to take steps to protect yourself and can't believe everything you see online."