Boulder DA warns renters of rise in Craigslist scams

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BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder District Attorney is warning those living and looking to live in Boulder of a recent spike in Craiglist rental property scams.

DA Stan Garnett says these phony listings lure renters with the promise of extra-low rent — for example, $880 a month for a 3-bedroom 2-bath home with a large yard in Boulder.

These reports have been received from Boulder, Aurora and Erie.

Scammers will create fraudulent ads from homes not on the market, or real estate listings from legitimate websites. When prospective renters send inquiries about the properties, the scammer will email a renter’s application that asks for sensitive information.

The application requests the renter to provide Social Security number, date of birth, driver’s license number and financial history, without the renter seeing the property.

In the past, scammers would frequently ask for a deposit to hold the rental property. These current scams appear to be an attempt to obtain personal identifying information, now considered more valuable than a monetary deposit, according to the Boulder DA.

A competitive rental market has made it difficult to find a place to live in Boulder County, but the DA recommends that consumers only provide a deposit or information once they have visited and entered the property with an agent or landlord.

Watch out for these warning signs and red flags:

  •  Requests for personal and/or financial information immediately
  • A request to wire a deposit to “hold” the property
  • Craigslist home rentals; try to use an identifiable agency if you can
  • Long-distance arrangements
  • Landlords who claim to be unavailable to show the property to the prospective renter.

If you have been scammed, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

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