Sunday, November 21, 2010

SCAM ALERT: Beware on Craigslist

Rental properties are becoming more necessary and popular as foreclosures continue in  our country.

Are you the parent of a teen that has started college or going to a college and is tired of the dorm experience and would like to find an apartment?

In St. Augustine, Flagler College is one of the most beautiful campus' with a city that is college friendly with lots of great housing opportunities.  Many locals use Craigslist as their outlet to advertise their rooms for rent or homes for rent.

Although most are legit, parents and teens need to beware of the scams that are escalating on Craigslist.  After answering several ads that seemed too good to be true, one local student shared their experience.
After spending her first semester in the dorm at Flagler College, Casey (name changed for privacy reasons) decided she wanted to find a room or apartment to rent for after the holidays.  She jumped on Craigslist, as her parents also did, and what happened could have been a diaster if they were not smart enough not to play into this scam.

There are scammers trying to get your credit score.  They are trying to steal your identity.
This advertiser below is on Craiglist - attempting to get your credit score. Don't fall for it. She offers an apartment too good to be true - and here is her response when you inquire about it.  Both Casey and her parents were victims of this scammer and several others when they answered their ads.  This email is duplicated and changed slightly for some, so be aware and don't respond to them.

From: Michelle Ratica []
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:08 PM
Subject: RE: $500 / 3br - 3 BR AND 2.5 BD HOUSE CLOSE TO EVERYTHING
Thanks for taking the time to email me about the place.
We thought we had the place rented last week to a young couple, but communication has dropped off. you are the first person to email about it since we put it back on the market . It would only be fair that we gave you the first shot at the property.
Normally, we would prefer a year lease, but would also be open to shorter terms. I'm sure that you will want to see the property before making a final decision. I would simply give you the address and let you swing by, but my wife is against blindly advertising an empty home online. Rest assured the home has been up kept properly and had a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint. Basic utilities are currently on, but we expect that you would get them put into your name fairly quick.
If you want to go ahead and schedule a time to see the property, go to the link below and print off the free copy of your report. Your score isn't necessarily important, we're just interested in seeing that there are no evictions / landlord related judgments.

Click here for the Free Online Score

I am very open as far as appointments go to show the property. Any morning after 10am is fine. Just let me know when you have everything printed and be sure to leave me a contact number to reach you at and any desired time. I will call you to confirm a time and choose a place to meet.
Thanks for looking,

Michelle Ratica

Usually the "Click here for free online score" is a hyperlink, do not click on it.  Michelle Ratica is one of many names the perpatrators use.  According to Casey's mother, a Mark Savorn and a Robert and Angela Banks are other scammers that sent similar emails.  Also Google the advertisers name, check to see if your advertiser is listed as a scammer.

These scams were reported to CraigsList, although some were taken down, there are still some there.  What is worse is that everyday a new one will be posted.  Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Never give out your social security number unless you have confirmed that the property is legit, and don't allow them to run your credit until you have agreed on the terms.

Be an educated parent and pass it on to your teen!

Read more. (including others that have been scammed by this person.)

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