Boise couple's home up for rent in Craigslist scam



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 5:03 PM

Phony ad showed up twice

BOISE -- A home for sale in Boise ends up for rent on Craigslist. It's a scam that's happened before in the Treasure Valley and now police say "buyer beware."

The home at the center of this scam was originally for sale back in October. It was listed on the Boise Multiple Listing Service Web site -- a site used by legitimate realtors.

That's where homeowner Melissa Gifford believes the scammers got so much information about her house.

The house is still for sale, but suddenly the Giffords discovered that someone had listed their home for rent on Craigslist.

Trying to figure out what was going on, a friend of the Giffords responded to the posting to get more information, and received a bogus letter and rental agreement.

"They said Dr. Gregory Gifford and Melissa Gifford, my wife are going to be in Africa for three years because my mother was dying of breast cancer and that we were going to be there for a long time, we just needed someone to look after the house and take care of it like we would," said Melissa Gifford.

The rental posted on Craiglist had all the home's information. It described the property including everything from the number of bedrooms to information on the new deck -- all available for $750 a month.

The bogus posting looked legitimate and even included a warning to avoid scams.

The Giffords called police, but because the information is international and untraceable, there is not much that can be done.

"This is the e-mail that we received from the person stating they were us, put all your information here and we'll send you the keys to the house that we don't own," said Melissa Gifford.

"Sadly this is not new, in fact the first time that the Boise Police Department got a report of something similar happened was a year ago, December of last year," said Boise Police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower.

The Giffords had the original posting flagged and pulled by Craigslist, but just today they found it up there again.

The Boise Police Department says all residents should only deal locally when looking to rent or buy property.

The best way is a face-to-face between buyer and seller.

Do not wire money because once you hit send it is gone and nearly impossible to retrieve.

Also protect your identity. Watch your Social Security number, bank account and credit card numbers.