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Latest Craigslist internet scam could cost you big $$

Craigslist. It's a great place to pick up a bargain. But crooks are finding new ways to use it to their advantage. The latest scam is back in Kansas.

One person in Hutchinson almost got ripped off with what some in the FBI had dubbed the "African family scam" that involves real estate.

Crooks are taking a legitimate home that's listed for sale and making their own ad, listing the home as a rental. They ask you to send a deposit.

"This is one where they ask you to send money to get a key to be able to look at the house or make some type of deposit before you have an opportunity to meet with the people," said Jim Bridges with the Mike Grbic Real Estate team.

Bridges says it's just a scam to get you to send money or give up your banking information so someone could possibly drain your bank account.

"It's a scam. A legitimate landlord will meet you at the property, take a credit application and they won't do it over the internet. And they will not ask you to send money to any post office box or ask you to wire money. They will meet with you instead of having you send it to them," said Bridges.

Real estate agent say many of the scammers use the internet. This latest scam is someone in the country of Africa, pretending to be a missionary. The supposed missionary pretends to be staying in Africa, doing missionary work. The scam continues as the crooks on the internet say they need someone to rent their home.

And it can be tough to catch the crooks overseas and bring them to justice because there are many there running the same scam.

"The justice department's been involved. The state of Kansas has been involved and local prosecuting attorneys have been involved," said Bridges. "There's no way to go get the money back. If authorities  would go to capture the person doing it in Africa, that person would just be replaced (by another criminal) again in five minutes."

Bridges says if you see the scam, report it. Just don't fall victim.

Advice to avoid losing your money includes never giving your banking information, never wire money to a person you do not know and never send cash.

"If you need a place to live," said Bridges. "call a real estate person. That's what we do. And we do it in person so you know what you're getting."


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