William's Places: Listing Agents, Beware: Trulia Rental Scams

Listing Agents, Beware: Trulia Rental Scams

I had originally thought that only Craigslist postings were prone to being scammed. I have read multiple reports both here in the Rain and elsewhere of houses being listed for rent on Craigslist when, in fact, they were for sale, or not even on the market at all.

So imagine my surprise when I started seeing it on Trulia. I was looking for a place to rent for myself, and came across an ad on Trulia advertising a rental - a very spacious colonial home in Country Club Waterbury - for $800 a month, $400 security. This is too good to be true, I thought. I did initially send an e-mail to the owner (who was listed in the ad, no less, and which I verified to be the owner indeed). But still suspicious, I searched in the MLS for this rental, and found that it was indeed for sale, not for rent, and that the listing agent was one of my colleagues in the Wolcott office. So I gave her a call, explained what I had found, and she told me that in no uncertain terms the house was not for rent. I thanked her for clarifying the matter, and advised her to make her client aware of the error so that it could be addressed.

Then it happened to one of my listings. I received a call from one of my sellers Saturday night appraising me of the situation, and he forwarded this e-mail to me soon after:

I always thought of Trulia as being a reputable place to advertise my listings. I believe that it still is, but agents, you should be aware that if you are posting listings on Trulia, that this may happen to you. I did report this as possible fraud, and I hope that for not only my sake, but for the countless other agents and sellers who may have been victimized in this way, that Trulia takes some very strong and proactive steps to remedy the problem so that it does not happen again.


What to do if your home is targeted by this scam. Sellers, if you notice or get a visit from someone asking if your home for sale is for rent, and it is not, ask the person where they got their information from, then contact your agent immediately.

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Courtesy of William James Walton, Sr. , Realtor, WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group

Serving northern New Haven and southeastern Litchfield Counties (Waterbury, Wolcott, Prospect, Naugatuck, Middlebury, Southbury, Watertown, Thomaston and Plymouth)

 

Call William James Walton, Sr. Real Estate Agent with WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group (203) 558-7463 for help with your real estate needs -buying or selling -  in Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, Middlebury, Southbury, Prospect, Naugatuck, Plymouth and Thomaston

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Comment balloon 6 commentsWilliam James Walton Sr. • November 21 2011 01:21PM

Comments

Great information to pass along to Realtors you can never be too sure in today's market. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Pat Champion, Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs (Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty) over 6 years ago

William - Interesting.  I wonder if this is intentional (and why) or if it just some sort of internal error. 

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 6 years ago

William, interesting piece of detective work. The scammers are constantly finding ways to put one over on the public.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 6 years ago

William, nothing is safe from con artist, that is why you always have to be on your toes.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 6 years ago

Hi William! I am surprised at this! I no longer post listings on Craig's List because all I get from it is prank calls or marketing calls. But I, too, thought Trulia was reliable. Thanks for sharing this info.

Posted by Rose King, Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area (UTR, Texas Realtors) over 6 years ago

Rose - I was just as surprised, and even more so when it happened to me and my seller. Now the hard part will be to get rid of it, apparently.

George - You've got that right, that's for sure.

Ed - Of all places for the scammers to scam, I would have never thought of Trulia.

Jason - It's definitely intentional, but what I'd like to find out is who did this so that they can be hung from the nearest tree (or whatever passes for acceptable punishment for theft these days).

Pat - I was glad to pass it along. We should be aware of the possibility of something like that happening to us.

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) over 6 years ago

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