DECATUR- if you're checking out homes for rent on Craigslist, watch out. There's a scam going around where con-artists take your money and get away with it.
Beautiful houses are listed "for rent" on craigslist at a great price, but they're not for rent.
Scammers take actual listings from real estate websites of local homes for sale.
The scammers are out of the country, many times from Nigeria, and say they need you to wire them several hundred dollars to pay for the security deposit.
But local realtors say they see this scam all the time and that you shouldn't send your money.
"You aren't going to hear from them," says ReMax Executives Plus Broker/Owner Jim Cleveland. "You aren't going to see them. if they do anything, they're going to ask you to send more money."
To make it worse, the scammers generally say they are doing good deeds, like missionary work and need to rent out their house quickly and cheaply.
Because the scammers are generally in foreign countries, they are hard to track, and many times get away with it.
Illinois Representative Chapin Rose is drafting legislation that will try to remove these postings from Craigslist as soon as they go up. That way, he says, the window of opportunity for consumers to be duped will close.
For more information about this scam, check out Paula Thornton's blog, A Wider Lens, on our website.