The other day, one of my real estate agents came to me and told me this story:
"I got a call from a young (sounding) girl who wanted to see the property I have listed on such and such street for rent. I told her that it was for sale and NOT for rent. She asked my why it said it was for rent on the Internet then. I told her it shouldn't, so I went onto our site and checked it out... It didn't say 'for rent'! I also checked out the data on the Multiple Listing Service and same results! So I called her back and asked her where she had seen this. 'Craig's List' was her response. The info on Craig's List told a story of someone being shipped, in the military, overseas and they needed to rent immediately. It went on to instruct her to send a money order to secure the lease..."
Well, this girl got lucky. She found the address on the RealtyUSA website and called the listing agent. She got through to him and he was able to figure out that this was an Internet scam! Otherwise she would have sent the money order (because it was an incredibly good deal, and she didn't want to lose out)... and she would have been taken.
What does this tell you?
Do business with PEOPLE! If you can... people you know! Or you got referred to. BUT be very very very VERY (emphasis on VERY) careful about this type of thing you see on the Internet. Warn your kids... friends, etc.
How does this happen? It's easy. A bad person gets on any real estate site... steals the info, sometimes even the pictures... and sets up a way for people to send them money. With absolutely no intention of ever helping them find an apartment or house!