ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. - When looking to buy or rent a new home, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
At least that’s how Pomona realtor Carole Novick is cautioning potential tenants when viewing her listings. Similar to recent IRS phone scams that are making the rounds, one of Novick’s properties was recently used as a false listing on Craigslist.
Novick found out about the fictitious listing from a new tenant, who contacted her and said people were wandering around the property trying to view the interior of the home. Word of the listing was traced back to a Craigslist ad that listed the home for rent at $1,050 per month when in actuality it rents for $2,500 per month.
“There are people wandering around the property too and I don't know how to stop that but I don't want to see anyone get hurt and that is a likely scenario,” Novick said. “I have a ‘by appointment only’ sign rider and it doesn't seem to be stopping them.”
The name of the person who listed the home on Craigslist shares the name of a former tenant of Novick’s who failed to pay their rent. The application provided is nearly identical to other templates found online that explain the owner of the property has moved away from the area (in this case Stockton, California) and would like to deal with potential tenants.
Meanwhile the telephone number provided, beginning with 817, was set up with Google Voice.
At the end of the application the “owner” of the property asks for one months rent, $1,050, and and a deposit of $835.
The issue isn’t uncommon; years ago one of Novick’s tenants reported something similar to both the Clarkstown and Ramapo police departments. However, nothing ever came of these reports.
Novick still has the house listed on Craigslist but for sale, not for rent.