Realtors warn of scam targeting would-be renters

January 10, 2019 06:01 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Local realtors are warning of a scam targeting renters.

It’s a tale as old as time; thieves using online sale sites like Craigslist as a crime of opportunity, namely ripping pictures from legitimate real estate listings and posting them in an attempt to make a quick buck.

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Realtors with Keller Williams are seeing an increase in the imposter postings, seeing a fake posting pop up within 24 hours of being put online.

Charlene and Matthew Lally of The Lally Team at Keller Williams Realty Greater Rochester were notified by a friend of someone wanting to rent one of their properties.

The problem? The property wasn’t a rental, it was actually pending for a sale.

However, the same posting they put on their legitimate site was copied and put on Craigslist, claiming you could rent the vacant home for just $1,000 a month.

The husband-wife team decided to call the number on the fake posting.

“They wanted us to wire a thousand dollars to them and they would send the key to us,” explained Matthew, Charlene added, “they had an elaborate story about it being a family home he was unable to sell, that’s why it was empty and he was renting it out.”

When they called out the imposter, he immediately hung up and pulled down the listing. But within days another one popped up, using a different vacant home, with a different number and email to contact.

“Most buyers start their search for a home online,” explained Charlene, suggesting people cross-reference a post they see on Craigslist. 
You can enter the address into a reputable site like, for example, to see if the home is listed for sale, and to see if the contact information lines up.

They explain you can always call a licensed real estate agent who can check the MLS to see if the property is legitimate.


Stephanie Robusto

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