Local realtors say schemers are using Craigslist to entice prospective renters into wiring security deposits or down payments into fraudulent accounts.
At least two homes in the Kessler Park neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas have recently shown up as "For Rent" on Internet ads.
The problem is that the ads were frauds.
"Properties are being listed online at Craigslist for rent, and in many cases, the rental rate that is being posted is well below market value," said Bill Head, director of communications for DFWRealtors.com / MetroTex Association of Realtors.
He said the postings are meant to entice prospective renters to wire money into an account.
The schemers post ads highlighting beautiful homes in beautiful neighborhoods, using photos from the actual MLS listings. They even create e-mail addresses using the names of the real listing agents.
It happened to Dallas realtor Kathy Hewitt when two of her listings appeared on Craigslist.
"One for $850 a month and one for $800, and they're both (valued at) well over $500,000," Hewitt said. "And where I live, there's a listing across the street that had the same thing happen to them."
Homeowners reported seeing cars driving by their homes, with people stopping to take a look. At least one homeowner said he felt so uneasy he considered taking his house off the market.
Hewitt said anyone looking for an inexpensive lease should trust their judgement.
"If they see that it is a gorgeous home in a gorgeous neighborhood and it's only $800 a month -- don't send your money in," she said. "'Cause it's not real."