Greensboro, NC -- It's one site where you can find almost anything you need: From toys to appliances and furniture, you can find it all on Craigslist.org. But can you spot an illegitimate ad?
When a nice home in Greensboro was listed "For Rent", the deal seemed too good to be true.
As it turned out the home was actually "For Sale". The images and description used in the Craigslist ad were taken directly from the realtor's website.
The homeowners told News 2's Liz Crawford they didn't know their home was on Craigslist until a couple hours earlier. That was after News 2 made their realtor aware of the advertisement.
John Cox said his home is absolutely not for rent. In fact, it's been for sale for about a month.
"There's so much of this fraud. It's running rampant right now," said Detective Edward Bruscino with the Greensboro Police Department.
After replying to the phony "For Rent" ad through e-mail, the storyline continued.
The people on the other end went into some detail that they are in Africa for the next couple of years and that's why they're renting their home, even sending pictures of what looks like missionaries with African children.
"They'll correspond with the victim back and forth and then in the end, they'll probably ask for some type of deposit usually by a wire transfer," explained Bruscino.
Back at the house, Cox and News 2's Liz Crawford looked closer at the ad.
As it turns out, whoever is behind the listing stole more than their home's identity. The e-mail address they created matches John Cox's mother's name. The e-mail address is actually very similar to Dava Cox's real e-mail address, proving they did some research.
Both John and his mother said they feel violated that their home is being used as a ploy to steal people's money.
"We just found out a little while ago and it was almost laughable at first, but then it sort of sunk in that, wait a minute, this is actually real, this is actually going on," said Cox.
Cox's realtor, Melissa Greer told News 2 that this is the fourth time that one of her listings in the Triad was put on Craigslist as a phony rent listing.
Bruscino gave two easy rules of thumb. Don't trust wire transfers, especially when they say they're out of the country. The other simple one is to meet the people behind the ads in person.
Bruscino said 99% of the time, a face-to-face interaction is legitimate.
You can also contact Craigslist through their resolution center where they'll investigate ads that look to be fraudulent.
WFMY News 2