This actually happened to me last month. I actually wasn't the direct victim of the scam, but I was involved. Well, my house was.

There are scammers on Buffalo Craigslist in the housing and apartment section who are looking to make a quick buck and most of the scammers aren't even from Western New York. Friends, who were looking to buy a house or apartment on Craigslist, were calling me this past month saying "I didn't know you were selling your house".

I wasn't.

A scammer stole pictures of my house off the internet and posted them in a Craigslist ad. Sometimes with an address (there were multiple posts with pictures of my house on it) so, when people would drive by, they would see the house and the ad would then have a link for a first month's payment or other link. This is just one instance in many. According to WIVB yesterday:

Tammy responded to the listing, exchanging emails with someone who claimed he was from Buffalo, but had to move to California after emergency surgery. He had family there to help with his children.

 

He emailed her pictures of the house that were lifted from realty websites to further the scam. Then required Tammy to wire the security deposit and first month’s rent, which she conveyed by MoneyGram and Western Union.

 

“I tried to contact him to see if he was going to send the keys, and all that he texted me back was ‘okay’. So my daughter was waiting for the keys at the house, and when she didn’t get them, I kind of figured something was up.”

 

Tammy realized she had been scammed, a scam that has cost her $800, “I sent him the money and everything, and come to find out he is not a legit person.”

Two rules to always remember:

  1.  NEVER send your important personal information to anyone online. This includes social security number, address and phone number.
  2. NEVER EVER send a wire transfer or a gift card/VISA online--no matter how much you suddenly trust this stranger.
  3. Lastly, if it is too good to be true--it is.