Beware of Craigslist renter scams -

Your house could be up for rent...and you may not know it

Imagine being at home and random people suddenly start coming and peering through your windows, even knocking on your door. That is exactly what happened to one woman in Ohio after she house became part of a Craigslist scam.

It is common to see a "For Sale" sign in front of a house, but one renter had to put up a different kind of sign for a Craigslist scam. The sign said, "This house is not for rent. Renter beware."

Rosemarie Day put the sign up outside her home after she returned home with her children one recent weekend and walked into a bizarre situation.

"In the first two hours, we had about a dozen people coming up and asking if the house was for rent for $600 per month," said Day. "They were peering in the windows. Some of them did knock on the door and ask to speak to us. We were doing yard work. I was a little frightened. Lot of strange men coming in, looking at my windows. As a single mom, [it put] me at high alert."

Day rents the house from the owner, who is actually trying to sell it.

This is another case of a scammer getting pictures from a legitimate advertisement for a home for sale, and then putting the pictures on a fake ad in Craigslist, offering the home for rent.

"I was completely befuddled they had pictures of my house - pictures of the inside of my house. It didn't even occur to me that they went to the realtor site and took them," said Day.

Earlier this year, a would-be renter almost sent money in a similar scam. Day said once she realized the details of the scam, she made sure to spread the word.

"When I wrote something on Facebook, ‘Renters beware,' two people wrote and thanked me because they almost fell for it. Or the one lady had a son who had a son who was duped by the scam," explained Day.

Even though the original ad has been removed from Craigslist, a realtor told Day chances are the scammers will put up more ads in the future. Day admitted she thought about taking her sign down, but another would-be renter stopped by just a few days ago.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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