Craigslist Scams

Staff reports

Ascension Parish Chief Deputy Tony Bacala is urging the public to be aware of criminal scams involving items listed on Craig’s List. 

Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, and personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

Ascension parish authorities have recently investigated a case where a home was legitimately for sale in Ascension Parish by a real estate company.

A couple went on Craigslist searching for a home to rent and found what they thought would be the perfect home in Ascension Parish to rent. They communicated with the person on Craig’s List who was alleging to be landlord. Upon calling the alleged landlord, at a 13 digit phone number, they noticed he had a foreign accent and he told them he was in Africa doing missionary work. The alleged landlord instructed the couple to send him $500 and he would send the keys to the home.

Prior to any money transaction the couple passed by the home and discovered a for sale sign in the yard. The couple then phoned the real estate company and confirmed that the home was for sale and has never been for rent. The owner of the home was presently in Ascension Parish, not in Africa.

At this point the couple, the real estate Company, and homeowner learned this was an attempted scam and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office.

According to Bacala, investigating these types of crimes are seldom successful since the perpetrators typically live outside of the jurisdiction of United States authorities.  Bacala cautioned that while this case involved a “seller” requesting money through the mail, other similar scams involve strangers sending excess money to buy goods listed for sale in classified ads or on Craig’s List and asking that the item and excess funds be sent to them.  In every case the “buyers” check ends up being a fake and the seller ends up losing money and the item they were selling.