Scam Watch: Woman finds her own home up for rent online

Local News

NEDROW, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Autumn Knittel rushed to wake up her husband on Tuesday morning when she found something online she just couldn’t believe.

Chatter had already started on a neighborhood Facebook page about homes for rent in the Nedrow area. Once Knittel logged on, she clicked a link to find her own home was listed as a place to rent by someone with no name.

“I clicked the link just for fun and there was my house,” she said.

The advertisement for the home was on Craigslist and by Wednesday afternoon the post was taken down. Knittel says she has noticed more people driving by than usual and said people were told to leave a deposit with the person running the advertisement before they could look at the house.

She knew this was obviously a scam.

“I feel bad because people are actually looking and this is a decent house that’s ‘for rent’ in a decent neighborhood and it is not legit,” she said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Craigslist is one of the first places many people go to look for rentals, but anyone can create an account, and they don’t need to be in the city where the unit is to be rented.

The BBB says Craigslist is regularly used by scammers. In 2016, researchers at New York University released a study of rental scams on Craigslist. They found that Craigslist does try to screen potential rental listings, both before they are posted and after they have gone “live.”

Of the 2 million ads examined, they identified 29,000 scam rental listings and found that Craigslist flagged 6 percent of rental ads for removal.

You can read more about how to avoid scams like this one here.


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