Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

House for Rent, or Is It for Sale?

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

House for Rent, or Is It for Sale?

Article excerpt

CRAIGSLIST SCAM

SARASOTA -- When real estate agent Aby Brooks stopped to check on a Prospect Street house listing last week, another car pulled in the driveway behind her.

"He asked, 'Is this the house for rent on Craigslist?' I said, "No, it's for sale and already under contract pending,' " Brooks said.

It turns out the eager renter almost fell for a Craigslist scam that has been running on and off in Southwest Florida for some time.

A scammer, probably taking information from a legitimate real estate website, posted a detailed "for rent" listing on the popular classified advertisement website.

The prospective renter -- Brooks didn't keep his name -- showed up at the home after contacting the "owner," who suggested he check out the house before setting up a lease agreement via email.

"He wanted $600 a month, which is just too good to be true," Brooks said of the three-bedroom, two-bath house listed for $150,000.

Brooks, a Realtor with Barrett Realty, called the Sarasota Police Department. …

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