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SCAM ALERT: Craigslist posting claims to be owner of Shreveport - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

SCAM ALERT: Craigslist posting claims to be owner of Shreveport rental property

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(Photo source: KTBS/Erin Buchanan) (Photo source: KTBS/Erin Buchanan)
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

It starts with a post on Craigslist, offering quite the deal for a rental home in Shreveport.

But it's usually way too good to be true, and in one recent case, it's far from legit.

"Fortunately, we had a young lady this week that just happened to call before sending a money order to Nigeria."

Barry Rachal, with River Cities Realty in Shreveport, is listing a rental property on Lowell Court in the Town South neighborhood for a client.

He was shocked to find out someone else claimed to be doing the same thing, asking for $800 a month - plus a $500 deposit - and telling people to ignore the realtor sign in the front yard.

"They all think it's a great deal and they're ready to rent it. It's being posted at less than half of what it would normally rent for."

The scammer, who responded to the KTBS 3 News inquiry through e-mail using the name "Bright Star" says he's in West Africa, and just needs a bit of personal information.

The email requests a name, date of birth, address, and phone number, among several other items.

And Rachal says he's afraid others may have fallen victim.

"There's no telling if anybody else may have just done something and never call anybody."

An international number is the only one listed in the e-mail, and Rachal, who called and was hung up on, wants prospective renters in the community to be on alert.

"A thief is going to be a thief. What I hate is is what it could do to one individual or another individual."

Rachal says what's particularly scary about this case is that thief has assumed the identity of an actual former tenant of that property.

The scammer says in the e-mail that access to the inside of the home is available only after you send him the $800.

Rachal says he's filed two complaints already with Craigslist in the hopes that the posting can be removed.

He says to make sure you check out anyone who claims to be a realtor or the owner of a property before handing over any money.

First, ask the realtor if he or she is in regular contact with the owner of the property.

Also, ask them exactly how long they've owned the house.

Rachal says a legitimate realtor will know this information immediately.

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