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What Out Who You lease From

I have made a lifetime hobby of analyzing scams out there, partly to warn my investors, but also driven by my fascination with the creativity and determination of crooks intent on extracting cash from the unwary (for the last one, see how to raise money for your hedge fund at http://www.madhedgefun...). In the San Francisco Bay Area, the new con is to rent out a house you don’t own. The unscrupulous are targeting any of the thousands of abandoned or empty homes in the high rent region, changing the locks, and then renting them out below market on Craigslist. The victims sign a lease, pay first and last month’s rent, plus a two month security deposit, and move in. They don’t realize they’ve been had until the lender, the sheriff, or the true owner shows up to evict them. No wonder that credit check went so easily! To protect yourself, go to, which will tell you if that property you are lusting after is delinquent, in foreclosure, or scheduled for auction, before you lay out any cash.