Attorney General warns consumers of rental housing scam - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Attorney General warns consumers of rental housing scam

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A good priced house in a normally higher priced neighborhood is reason for consumers to put up a red flag.

Craigslist is one of the fastest ways to find a great deal in today's market, as thousands of home rental listings dominate the online ad site.

That's why the Attorney General's office sent out a notice on Monday, for potential renters to be weary of scammers. 

"It's best to try to prevent it by letting people know those scams are out there," Hood said.

One example the Attorney General's office is looking into was a three bedroom/two bath house for $900 monthly, though the exact location and name was "redacted" for security purposes.

Hood said these cases are popping up more and more in Mississippi. However, he says online advertisers are making bank at the expense of others.

"They are making tons of money off of illegal activity and the con artists are just trying to scam people," said Hood.

Executive Director Bill Moak from the Better Business Bureau said it's best for consumers to turn away from a great deal, that just seems too good to be true. 

"You as a consumer need to be responsible for checking out the ad," said Moak.

Moak also recommends to flip through local ads as in a traditional newspaper classified ad, because he says local ads are often more trustworthy than national advertisers like Craigslist.

"You're a lot less likely to be the victim of a scam if you go with a local service with local folks," Moak said.

In addition the Attorney General's office recommends for consumers to watch out for money wires through Western Union or MoneyGram.

Also, to be aware of anyone out of the country listing a house or saying they just moved from the United States.

But Hoods adds, with zero government oversight as to who can post ads on these sites, there isn't much they can do in the meantime. 

"At some point it's going to take a lawsuit or something to get their attention so they don't use their site to let scammers to take advantage of people," said Hood.

If you suspect, you have found a suspicious or false ad, you can contact the Attorney General's office at: 1(800)281-4418

Or you can email Craigslist at: abuse@craigslist.org

Also, you can go to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) web site: www.ftc.gov

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