A Greenport woman said she was horrified to learn her home had been listed for rent on Craigslist without her knowledge and was used to scam interested renters out of $1,500.
Joyce Culver, 69, said she has owned the home for a decade and decided to try renting it out for the summer while she stayed at her Manhattan residence. About a month after her Realtor listed the home on legitimate real estate sites, a neighbor alerted her that a fishy listing was floating around on Craigslist with pictures of the home and someone using Culver’s name, she said.
Culver said the listing had been active from May 31 to June 8. The anonymous scammer had taken the photos and description included in the Multiple Listing Service posted by Culver’s Realtor and was asking interested renters to send $1,500 to a bank account in Illinois, she said.
Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said the case is under investigation and that police were contacted about the listing twice. An Eastport man who responded to the listing and suspected it was a scam reported it on June 3, Flatley said.
A second man from Southold contacted police on June 8, Flatley said, saying he and his girlfriend paid the deposit and never received keys.
Culver said her neighbor also responded to the listing and received an emailed response, signed as Culver.
Culver organized her friends to flag the listing on Craigslist until it was removed, and she contacted police. She also reached out to the couple who lost money to show her support.
“I had to go into action right away, because I wanted that ad off of Craigslist,” she said. “I don’t want anyone else getting scammed in this community or on Long Island.”
Culver said she learned not to include photos in any future listing and to be less specific about the space she’s renting out in online postings. Flatley also said would-be renters should be concerned if a lister only wants to communicate through email or mail, or asks potential renters to deposit money directly into another bank account.