New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
June 16, 2020

Contact:
Brandon H. Garod, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau
(603) 271-1217 | brandon.garod@doj.nh.gov

Consumer Alert - Craigslist Rental Scams are on the Rise in New Hampshire

Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald warns New Hampshire residents about several recent reports of property rental scams through Craigslist. The scam involves an apartment or house that is offered for rent on Craigslist. The post will often contain significant details about the property, including photos, in an attempt to convince the consumer that the offer is legitimate. Often, the scam artist uses photos and information that are copied from a legitimate posting by the owner of the property.

When the consumer contacts the person posing as the landlord, the consumer is asked to pay a reservation fee upfront through a bank transfer, Cash App, Pay Pal, or another electronic money transfer service. If the consumer asks to visit the property before making payment, the imposter "landlord" creates an excuse for why physically visiting the property is not possible.

Victims of these scams are at high risk of losing their reservation fee.

Attorney General MacDonald offers the following advice to avoid falling victim to this scam:

  • Whenever possible, ask to see the property in advance of sending any payments or take steps to confirm the identity of the person offering to rent. If the rental is legitimate, the landlord should be willing to show you the property before you commit.
  • If the rental property appears too good to be true for that price, it probably is.
  • Consumers should not transfer or wire money to people they do not know. Most legitimate landlords will accept a personal check or money order.
  • Never send a payment until the rental agreement is signed and you have confirmed that the rental is legitimate.
  • Ask to speak with the landlord over the phone. If the landlord is unwilling to speak over the phone, or cannot answer basic questions about the property, assume it is a scam.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this scam, report it to your local police department and the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau of the Attorney General's Office. You can file a complaint at: https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm or by calling the Consumer Hotline at (603) 271-3641.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658