Scammers Target Craigslist Realtor

Would the real Gwen please stand up?

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Newspaper classifieds have a friend in scammers. Though hemorrhaging sales to Craigslist, fraudulent posters there may drive legitimate businesspeople back to where they’ve done business for decades.

Gwen Mathews, for example, is a real estate agent for Re/Max Creative in Lexington, Kentucky, and not an X-ray welder working for a Nigerian ship building company. Gwen the real estate agent has a cute little house available for rent near campus for $990 a month. Gwen the welder has the same house for just $700, presumably a cut in price because Gwen the welder is in a real bind and has to get back to Nigeria immediately.

Gwen the welder doesn’t seem aware there are no seaports in Kentucky, nor that there is more than one United State, but asks you to contact her anyway "on #0112347023377964," whatever that means.

In case you bought the story, it would have been wise to return to craigslist for a follow-up. A warning there reads:


There are some ads posted by gwenmathews74@yahoo.com, they are a scammer. They will ask you to wire money and mail you the keys. This is a new scam where people will list houses that are not actually for rent and that they do not own and request you to wire money to them in exchange for the keys.


Gwen the real estate agent, if you give her a call at her real Lexington phone number, is happy to tell you that’s not her email address, and that the house is actually for rent if you’re interested. She’s not so happy to tell you she’s won’t be posting her ads on craigslist anymore.

"Which is sad," she says, "because we’ve had real success there. Maybe it’s a rental referral place trying to put us out of business."

Gwen’s words reveal the other side of the craigslist fraud issue: the professional reputation side. News stories of scams on craigslist have focused on protecting the consumer, but not much has been said about the potential impact on professional reps. Even Gwen’s photo was used.

"If you write an article on this," says Gwen the real estate agent, "please say I am not a fraudulent scammer!"

Deal. Gwen Mathews is not a fraudulent scammer.

Gwen was aware of the scam before we contacted her. The same thing had happened a couple of weeks prior, when she had another job. Luckily she has friends nearby to flag the listing and write warnings. She emailed craigslist about it the first time it happened, and says they responded quickly by deleting it. Her only concern beyond what’s already been mentioned is that the two young women who live there now will receive some surprise visits.

It’s hard to tell if Gwen the welder based her scam entirely on a legitimate listing—the fraudulent listing came complete with interior and exterior photos—or was savvy enough to access publicly available records online. Given Gwen the welder’s general ignorance of US geography, though, it seems likely to be the former.

Craigslist posts a set of warnings and guidelines about scammers. Among them are specific warnings about only dealing with people you can meet in person and never dealing with a "distant person" who asks customers to wire money.

Other than that, the online classifieds site has little to suggest as a remedy, whether it be a plan to charge for listings in the future or a more effective way to vet advertisers. Craigslist did not respond to request for comment.

Scammers Target Craigslist Realtor
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  • Guest

    Like most "free" sites — Craigslist is a haven for scams — I simply don’t use it anymore as so many ads posted are fraudulent.  The last ad I responded to, I received a reply requesting money be sent to Africa.  Sorry – but Craigslist has become a waste of time.

  • Guest

    I 100% agree that Craiglist is haven for scammers mosty i fond there junk ads. They don’t target limited person.

  • Guest

    I Have been scammed $2000.00 from him for a apart\ment, Yea they better catch this guy or I will.

  • http://www.articlesgarage.com/author/cristianstan/ CristianStan

    I don’t know much about Craiglist but I remember they put in a place a system to reduce spam and scammers with phone verification.


  • marcos

    Marcos Guiza is a craigslist scammer – he will attempt to buy your goods, send you an overnighted check from a fals bank account that is thousands of dollars MORE than what you asked for. then he wants you to send him teh change – 100.00 plus themoney for your item. he will say his secretary made the mistake.

      he will say that his representitive will come by to pick up the item after you send him the tracking and money order info for the CHANGE he wanted back  ( Thousands of dollars )  your bank will not tell you the money is not real till much later and you will be robbed of thousands of dollars.
       Old scam,   i suggest you let him send the check – it costs him about 20 dollars every time.  then never cash it. jusy keep it or take it to the police. if enough of do this to all the scammers they will have to quit!

  • Guest

    Nice Post Thanks for sharing good comments.

    Home Medical Equipment Store

  • Guest

    Its quite embaricing for craiglist heaven for spammers

    mini boden

  • Guest

    Nice Blog! Shiekh Shoes

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