WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kaimuku family was shocked to learn their home up for sale on Maui was put up for rent on Craigslist by a complete stranger.
Kathy Nishimoto said her Wailuku home went on the market about one week ago.
Over the weekend, she received a surprising call from her realtor.
Nishimoto said her realtor was contacted by potential renters, who drove by the home off Iao Loop after exchanging emails with a person claiming to own the property.
They said they found the rental listing on Craigslist and that the scammer asked them to wire over money, before ever seeing the home or meeting them in person.
"We were shocked that we were unknowingly part of a scam," said Nishimoto. "Our realtor notified us as soon as she found out. Unfortunately, I guess it must happen more often than we hear about because she knew to contact the FBI and where to report the fraud."
No one lost any money and the fake ad has been taken down, but the scam is nothing new.
Experts say crooks create fraudulent online rental ads by stealing real pictures and information for legitimate advertisements.
The criminal then pretends to be the owner, property manager or realtor and posts the fake ads.
They ultimately try to get the consumer to wire, ship, or use a money order or other means to send a deposit to secure the rental.
Experts advise to never rent a property without seeing the place and meeting the owner face-to-face. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Learn more about rental listing scams here.
This story may be updated.