ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Online shopping sites like Craigslist are full of scams; with prices of home rentals rising, there are a lot of fake ads showing up on Craigslist.

Scammers are stealing pictures of homes claiming they’re for rent, but actually, they’re for sale. This is a familiar scam, but it’s become more prevalent today.

Gary Leffew is finally able to relax knowing that he’s doing his best to warn folks of a scam that has cost others dearly. The house belonging to the late mother of Gary’s fiancee is for sale but recently it appeared on Craigslist as being for rent. He was outside the house two weeks ago.

“These people pulled up, the guy called out to me and said, ‘hey, is this house for rent?’ I said, ‘no, sir, it is for sale.’ You could just see, I could see the lady’s face, you could see the color drop out of it. The lady pulled it up on her phone, I got to looking at the pictures, it was the exact pictures that the real estate agent had taken of the outside of the house and inside of the house. I got to reading the description of the house and it was on there, word for word.”

Quickly, the real estate agent taped a warning note on the front door saying pictures of the home on Craigslist as being for rent, is a scam — the house is for sale, not for rent. The fake ads bothered Leffew, because innocent people can lose money.

“I didn’t get those people’s names, but I’m quite sure just from the look at that lady’s face. They had already sent him money.”

Before the fake ad was removed, Leffew wanted to see how the hoax worked. Posing as a prospective renter, he contacted the scammer and got a reply. It read, “Thanks for getting back to me ASAP, monthly rent is 800 with all utilities included. So the total move-in cost for the whole house is 16-hundred.”

The message from Christopher William, a fake name, claimed he was a local preacher moving to California, but the website of his new church is in Texas. Next, Leffew went a step further. He wondered what information would he have to reveal in this questionnaire sent to him?

“Name, first name, middle name, last name. Present address, phone number. My date of birth and even a copy of my driver’s license. He could have taken that and go get himself a credit card, just about.”

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Think about this, if a person on Craigslist asks for your personal information, like your driver’s license or date of birth, it’s a scam. The easiest way to avoid falling victim to housing scams on Craiglist is simply to partner with a real estate agent who you can trust. Agents will have listings of homes that are for rent, and Craigslist can be a safe place to go shopping, but the housing scam is one you have to watch out for.