Knoxville Homes for Sale and the Craigslist Rental Scam

Craigslist Rental ScamThe Holloway Group, the leading Knoxville real estate team at Gables & Gates, REALTORS has announced their personal fight against a popular internet scam they are seeing not only in Knoxville, but nationwide. The posting of fraudulent rentals on internet sites such as Craigslist and large real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow, that are actually Knoxville homes for sale. These fraudulent ads are being posted on a daily basis, hoping to lure in unsuspecting renters.

The Holloway Group says they are fielding calls from potential renters on a daily basis. You may wonder why the Holloway Group, a team that only lists and sells Knoxville real estate, are getting rental calls. The following is how the scam typically works: The scam artist begins by trolling the internet, looking at Knoxville homes for sale on sites like Trulia, Zillow, or They find a Knoxville home for sale that is located in a desirable area and looks to be in nice condition. They then proceed to copy the address, photos, and description of the Knoxville home for sale and list it on sites like Craigslist, Trulia, and Zillow at a rental price well below typical market rent, and many times offering additional bonuses such as free utilities. When the potential renter gets in contact with the supposed owner of the home, a story typically ensues where the owner tells the renter that they are currently out of the country (often even saying they are on a mission trip), and are looking for someone trustworthy to rent their home. The scam artist uses the actual name of the owners of the home, which they have researched and found in public records. They follow by asking the potential renters to fill out an application, which they no doubt approve quickly, and then ask for them to mail a deposit so they can subsequently send them the keys to the home. All without the renter stepping into the home.

The lure for the renter is obviously the incredible deal, because the home is renting for so far below market rent. Gladly many of these would be renters do a little extra research by either doing an internet search on the address or driving by the property. This is how they end up calling the Holloway Group at Gables & Gates, REALTORS.

“Once they search the address on the internet, the property comes up for sale and they see our contact information, or they drive by the home and see our sign and call”, says Troy Stavros, BROKER/PARTNER at the Holloway Group. “We are thankful to be able to speak to them before they proceed any further. We get multiple calls daily as a result of this scam. We typically have 40-50 listings on the market on a regular basis so the odds are good that a few of those will be picked up by the scam artists. I think they like our professional photography and the great homes we list. I just feel bad for the folks that don’t call us. Hopefully, before they go through with sending any money, they will realize that if it seems to good to be true, it usually is.”

The problem stems from the fact that you can list a rental home on sites like Craigslist, Trulia, and Zillow through sites like Postlets without any real verification of validity.  Hopefully those sites can find a way to remedy the issue. Until then, along with fielding phone calls, and trying to get the word out to the public, the Holloway Group is being proactive by searching the websites daily to find the fraudulent ads on their listings, and reporting them to the sites for removal. Stavros concluded, “Be careful out there! Do your due diligence. Our recommendation would be to do an internet search on the address and contact a professional real estate company for assistance.”

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