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Craigslist Scam Take Aim At House Hunters


POSTED: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 4:22pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 1, 2011 - 1:39pm

EL PASO - Scammers are taking aim at vulnerable El Pasoans who are looking for housing.

If you scroll through Craigslist you will find dozens of homes for rent.

"Especially with the shortage of housing at Fort Bliss, people have a higher urgency to find housing and too often just take what they see on the internet," Better Business Bureau Spokesperson Annabelle Estrada said.

Estrada says if you're not careful you could end up giving information and money to a scammer. That's because scammers are now using pictures and information of real El Paso homes and claiming to be the owners.

We replied to the ad for a West El Paso home listed on Craigslist. The man who wrote back said he was in West Africa, and he gave us a long story explaining why he was not in El Paso. He wanted our information and a deposit sent to him. However, there's a local sign in front of the home. We called the number on the sign, and the realtor told us several of her homes have popped up in Craigslist scams recently.

Estrada says it's always a red flag if someone asks for your money or information over the internet.

"When it comes to house hunting we just recommend going with professional. They know what's out there. They're going to lead you in the best way."

As a rule of thumb, the Better Business Bureau says if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

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If the people say they are out of the country run as fast as you can. That screams SCAM! Be smart about seeing the places & meeting the posters. Don’t give money through wires or make checks out to a third unmet party.

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