A man allegedly made off with about $1,000 from more than a dozen prospective renters for a Queens apartment through phony ads on Craigslist, the New York Daily News reported. The suspect, Peter Kim, had victims make deposits for units at 43-01 46th Street in Queens that he claimed would be available March 1. He collected the deposits between Feb. 22 and March 1. But Kim is not affiliated with the apartment building and did not have the authority to rent out the units. Borough Park-based Diamond Property Management oversees the 60-unit building.
Meanwhile, Craigslist scams are becoming a bigger problem in the New York City and Westchester rental scene, according to LoHud.com. While the practice of tricking people into trying to rent homes that are for sale has been around for some time, LoHud.com said more people are falling for it because scammers have become more sophisticated. They’ve begun finding ways to show the property to victims before taking off with their money.
“You’d have to be an imbecile to fall for such a scam years ago, but it’s gotten much more blatant,” said Geoffrey Barry, manager of a Houlihan Lawrence real estate office in White Plains. “Now they’re actually coming to the houses.”
Some brokerages are trying to combat the scheme by setting up Google Alerts that notify them every time one of their properties appear on Craigslist, but police acknowledge that once the scammer has secured the money it’s often very difficult to catch them because of the lack of identifying clues. [NYDN] and [LoHud.com]