WARNING: Craigslist Scammers Target South Lake Tahoe Ski Rentals

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-11-32-00-am

WARNING: Craigslist Scammers Target South Lake Tahoe Ski Rentals

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WARNING: Craigslist Scammers Target South Lake Tahoe Ski Rentals

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-11-32-00-am“The best way to stop the fraud is not to rent a home on craigslist. Don’t send money to people you don’t know. Mail payment only to a company with a physical address.” Robert Leach of the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office

During the week of Christmas and New Years 2015, 30 cases of vacation rental fraud in South Lake Tahoe were reported. The story is usually the same: Renters respond to an ad on Craigslist and put down money up front, when they get to the house they discover is rented to another group, one that turns out to be the legitimate renters and they are left high and dry. Reports can be filed but it is nearly impossible to recoup the money.

Real estate fraud criminal investigator for the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, Robert Leach, spoke with the southtahoenow.com about the scam epidemic:

“A lot of people ask the right questions, look into ownership, but the scammers always have the right excuses and answers about ownership. It hooks the renter in even further. People get hooked in because the prices are lower, its enticing. If its too good to be true, it probably is.”

His advise on how to avoid vacation rental scams is simple:

“The best way to stop the fraud is not to rent a home on craigslist. Don’t send money to people you don’t know. Mail payment only to a company with a physical address.”

Even with public awareness on the rise, fake ads continue to pop up on Craigslist everyday:

“Craigslist is taking down five to ten ads a day for us.”

The problem is so bad the El Dorado County District Attorney filmed a public service announcement warning potential renters of the rampant scam artists:

El Dororado County District Attorney Vern Pierson has issued these basic steps to avoid vacation home rental scams:

– Use a rental company with a local address and a published phone number with a tried and true history
– Use a credit card that will protect you for the initial payment
– Speak with the person via the phone and confirm ownership through the County Assessor’s Office
– NEVER wire money anywhere including a legitimate bank account
– IF IT SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS

 

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