Real Estate Scams are Alive and Well -- Right Here in Indianapolis!

Real Estate Scams are Alive and Well -- Right Here in Indianapolis!ringing telephone

So I'm sitting at my desk on a rather slow Real Estate day......and the telephone rings!  An opportunity!  Happy days are here again!  Tiny Tim is saved!

But...what's that?  Do I have a home for sale in Hill ValleyYes!  (Everyone in the office is cheering!  They are breaking out the bubbly!)

Oh, Hill Valley you say?  (dejected)  ... actually that home sold a couple of weeks ago, but I have some other great options that might interest you (hopeful)!

That's when the call took an odd turn.  (Cue the creepy music)

Caller:  Is the home for rent?   

Me:  Well, no.  It's never been for rent, only for sale.

Caller:  Who is the owner? 

Me:  Well, he's no longer alive.  This was an estate sale.

Caller:  OH NO......!!!!!!

Turns out the caller had found a "great" rental listing on Craigslist  -- which just happened to be the same home we had recently sold in Hill Vally.   The "landlord" had borrowed our photography, our description, every detail from our Craigslist advertisement to create his rental property listing. (Just send us the first month's rent atheifnd a security deposit and the home is yours to enjoy!)

The caller, well intentioned as she was, gave out her personal information to this "landlord" so that she could rent the home.  Somebody call the identity theft police!  She had just been scammed.  There was no rental property - only an electronic description of a rental property.  It still astounds me that anyone would give out personal information to a stranger over the phone (it was even an over seas phone number) and agree to rent a property without ever meeting the owner or visiting the home.  Thankfully, she hadn't sent a deposit. 

We still use Craigslist, but now we also set up google alerts for every listing address.  If a scammer uses one of our listings to run his fraud we'll know about it! 


Unless otherwise noted, blogs are authored by Tonda or Steve Hoagland



Comment balloon 1 commentTonda & Steve Hoagland • February 19 2010 12:41PM


No matter how stupid the scam, there always seems to be those who fall for them.  Great idea about the Google alerts for each address.

Posted by Jenny Kotulak, Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate (RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage) over 10 years ago

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