Craigslist ad targets Huntsville renters - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Craigslist ad targets Huntsville renters

A scam targeted people looking to rent a house in Huntsville advertised on Craigslist. A scam targeted people looking to rent a house in Huntsville advertised on Craigslist.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A scam targeted people looking to rent a house in Huntsville advertised on Craigslist.

A viewer discovered a Craigslist ad for a rent-to-own property on Stanhope Drive. According to the realtor, the house was for sale, but not rent to own. In fact, the realtor said he never posted the house on the website.

Realtor Jim Merical said earlier in the week, his cell phone began ringing off the hook about the property. Prospective buyers wanted to know how such a nice house was going for so cheap. Merical said he's had to break the news that someone else was posing as the realtor and posted the ad as a scam.

Merical also said some of the callers contacted the person who posted the Craigslist ad, and said the fake realtor wanted them to wire $1,500 to a bank account. Merical said that's not how he does business, and he's concerned others may fall for the scam.

"When you're dealing with a Craigslist, it is so hard to get something like that corrected," said Merical. "Once something has gone out there on the internet, that's a tough thing to stop."

Craigslist did pull down the ad on Friday.

The North Alabama Better Business Bureau said this is the second fake housing Craigslist post they've learned of in the last few weeks. They are working to get the word out to others so there aren't any more victims.

Michele Mason with the BBB said these types of scams are difficult to track and even harder to prosecute.

"Many of these scams artists aren't even in the U.S. They're just using the internet to interact with you," said Mason. "They could be in another country."

Merical said his office has seen a rise in the same kind of scam in the last few years. He said what makes this one different is the volume of phone calls the ad has generated.

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