Carlsbad Housing Scam Alert

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by Roberta Murphy

real estate scamYou’d think the San Diego real estate market had enough trouble on its hands, without the incursion of crooks who advertise scam homes for rent in CraigsList.

The rents on Craigslist are reasonable, credit history is no problem and move-in is easy.

The only problem is that thieves are leasing homes in which they have no interest–other than what they can illegally milk from these vacated properties. The property of choice, at least in suburban Carlsbad, appears to be a home that is vacant, not listed with a Realtor, and that is a recent foreclosure.

Two Orange County scoundrels were just arrested for doing this with at least a couple of Carlsbad homes–and possibly more. It is not yet known how many thousands of dollars in deposits were fraudulently collected, but police are investigating and asking anyone with information–or who may have been a victim–to call them at 760-931-2197.

A real estate scam is nothing new and they tend to proliferate when rental markets are tight–which perfectly describes the Carlsbad home rental market right now. We just listed a town home rental in Calavera Hills and had a solid application within 48 hours. Those relocating to the San Diego area and those displaced because of the mortgage meltdown are added to the rolls of those seeking rentals in desirable neighborhoods.

Free Advice:

For Renters: Use a licensed real estate professional if at all possible. It should cost you nothing–and BEWARE of CraigsList rental ads–especially those courting bad credit. Report suspicious ads to CraigsList and the authorities.

For Neighbors: If you live close to a vacant foreclosure, watch out for homemade signs and unusual activity around the home. Call a Realtor or someone in the real estate business and have them check ownership of the property in question–and don’t be timid about calling the police if you feel something isn’t right.

For Scammers: Stay out of San Diego County. You’re not welcome here, we’re on alert for your loathsome activities–and we’ll set you up for a bust any chance we get.

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