Sophisticated Craigslist scam centered on ID theft warrants BBB warning

A Fresno, California, property management company had its identity appropriated for numerous interactions with possible renters conducted from a rogue website bearing the company's name and logo, the Better Business Bureau has announced.

Manco Abbott Real Estate Management, Inc., is the victim of the sophisticated scheme involving fake rental applications sent to prospective tenants who responded to fraudulent Craigslist postings advertising single-family homes for rent, the Central Valley Business Times reports.

Potential victims answering the ads were requested to pay an upfront application fee of $35 per adult occupant. Funds were to be sent using a type of debitable gift card purchased from a California supermarket chain. Once an application is approved, a cash security deposit would be required, according to the BBB.

The company was alerted to the criminal activity by a respondent to one of the fake Craigslist postings who called for details on an advertised rental, reports KFSN-TV. The call raised suspicion because Manco Abbott does not manage single-family residential properties.

Househunters using Craigslist are advised to use caution and to confirm any advertised listing by speaking directly with the advertiser by telephone before sending funds or making an online transaction.