Summer Renters Scammed At The Jersey Shore

By Robin Rieger

A home on Travers Place in Brigantine sounds like a nice to place to rent, according to a copy of the Craigslist ad that offered the three bedroom single family home for $800 a month.

The problem is the home is only listed for sale by a local realtor. Brigantine police say scammers are using the home’s picture and Craigslist to get money from unsuspecting potential renters.

“They are taking a picture of the house from the MLS (multiple listing service) website
…and they dummy up an ad, it’s that simple,” said Lieutenant Jim Bennett.

When someone looking to rent responds to the ad, police say the scammer explains by email why the home is available.

“I’m a missionary and I’ve recently been transferred to Western Africa. Mail or FedEx us your money,” Bennett said.

A local couple sent about $1200 dollars to someone advertising this home for rent for $800 a month on Craigslist, but never heard back from the so-called landlord. At the time, the home was listed for sale with Coldwell Banker At The Shore.

“They went to the home and noticed we had a sign, so they reached out to the agent to find out what was going on, and the agent was unaware of anything,” said agent Colleen Bell.

Police say the couple’s money is almost impossible to retrieve from the scammers.

“They’re most likely not here in country,” said Bennett.

With the summer rental season in full swing, it’s renter beware.

“Always use a licensed real estate agent,” said Bell

Or meet the home owner at the house for a tour.

“Don’t FedEx money, don’t send money to anybody, especially out of the country,” warned Bennett.

Craigslist offers the same warning and has been removing the ads as they are notified by police.

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  • Emmanuel Goldstien

    I live in South Carolina and through a state program get help with my rent (due to disability). The last time I was looking for a new place (I can’t have a roommate and the rent must be under a low amount), the man at local housing authority called me to tell me he found an AMAZING place for me. He described it and I was very excited until he told me the price, and right away something seemed wrong. Best neighborhood in town, twice as big as most places and about 50% less than every place equal to it. Then she forwards me her correspondence with the “landlord”. Of course a 5 second google search of the address showed the same place for rent for three times the price and the correspondence was from Craig’s List in broken English, lol. My point is this: I always thought (like ‘cantfixxtupid;) that people who fell for these scams were so dumb they were almost asking for it. I have been dealing with this man at the housing authority for almost a decade and he is a VERY smart man. He is just a kind man who could not imagine someone being so low as to trying to scam a disabled vet for a few hundred bucks. You may call him a fool, but I say that with a heart like that, he’s my kind of fool. :)

  • mccgeno

    Brilliant! It’s like fishing for idiots.

  • Cantfixstupid

    OMG who sends money to someone they have NEVER met??? REally???? Hey will you just Western Union me some money while you are at it… I’m in Uganda raising what grass to feed to AIDS orphans. Please and thank you. Geesh…

  • Lara

    I see this all the time on CL. You just have to make sure not to give out any personal informaiton and never send money to anyone. They do this with cars too.

    • Ben

      This is the reason I avoid craigslist.

  • Fricsaid

    We seen this same thing when we were looking to buy a home. We seen the same home up for rent that was also for sale on a realator site.
    For fun, we inquire about the rental ad just to see what we would get. Lol….the owner claimed to have moved out of the country to be with sick realatives and everything was to be conducted via the mail. They even sent us an email telling us that made the decision to pick us to rent to out of the hundreds of inquires. We called the realator that had the home for sale and told him about the rental ad. Just as in the story, they didn’t have a clue. I don’t see how some people sleep at night.

  • judy

    Ok first of a, when the ad starts off by saying I’m a missonary and had to transfer or whatever to West Africa or any other country. Common Sense tells you SCAM. There is no way I would send money to any over seas that I don’t know. My opinion it’s that person’s fault for doing it.

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