PropertyManagementMaven: S.F. apartment rental scam nets guilty plea * I'm glad to see this happened in Craig's Backyard

S.F. apartment rental scam nets guilty plea * I'm glad to see this happened in Craig's Backyard

This has been around in various forms for years.  In the "olden days", rental prospects used to be able to get keys from the office and view properties on their own.  The scam THEN was to make duplicates, put an ad in the paper and RErent the property and collect as much move-in monies as possible and then leave town before the new renters were the wiser....

S.F. apartment rental scam nets guilty plea

I just read this story about a woman, Rachael Marie Smith, who has been running a rental scam in San Francisco.

The more people who know about this type of thing, the better. It appears she has been posting Craigslist ads to rent her apartment in the 5600 block of California Street near 18th Avenue. And SHE's the current Renter!

About 18 people signed leases with Smith, and each gave her a $5,600 check for the first month's rent and security deposit, authorities said.

Here's the link to the SFGate Article. This sounds suspiciously similar to a Chinese woman who was running the same sort of scam, but collecting $$ for credit checks.

You need to be careful with Craigslist ads. Know who you're talking to. Better yet, consult a trusted Realtor who can guide you around this sort of Scam.


John M Scott, Broker / Owner, Century 21 Scott Keys Properties, Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB), serving San Francisco and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area



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Comment balloon 5 commentsWallace S. Gibson, CPM • August 30 2011 01:54AM


I always see this type of fraud when time get tough.  I ran the Los Angeles County Homeownes Fraud department more that 30 yrs ago and they were doing it then.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 6 years ago

It is important that prospective renters work with a reputable agent to make sure they are not scammed.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 6 years ago


My experience with Craigslist has been all scammers and bad leads.  Interesting how it just isn't the best avenue for the high end rentals here in Atllanta.  

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Michelle * we have so many rental prospects coming in from all over the world, they know to try CL first.  I don't get scammers because my listings are my website HTML and contact is through that listing....watermarking photos also helps.

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 6 years ago

Thanks for the re-blog Wallace. It's important to spread the word!

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) over 6 years ago

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