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L.A. Residents Conned By Craigslist Rent Scam

Three individuals used Craigslist to scam potential apartment renters.

Details of a recent Craigslist rent scam were released Wednesday afternoon at a press conference.

Victim of the scam Tanzy Harris spoke at the press conference. (ATVN)
Victim of the scam Tanzy Harris spoke at the press conference. (ATVN)

Three suspects have been caught, but detectives are still asking the public to help identify victims of the scam.


"We have a group of three individuals who are taking advantage of our community, of their economic distress," said LAPD Southwest Area Captain Melissa Zak.

Zak said approximately 20 instances of rental scams have been reported, but around 15 victims have not yet come forward.

Tuesday morning, LAPD detectives raided an apartment near Silver Lake and arrested two suspects there and one across town. 29-year-old Keith Adkins, a registered sex offender, is the alleged ringleader.

According to victim reports, police said the victims responded to cheap listings for housing in Baldwin Village and Hollywood areas of Los Angeles on Craigslist.

The suspects would direct them to the location, provide them with a lockbox code and in some instances would conduct a tour of the property over the phone. The victims would then deliver a security deposit using cash or money order, then discover that the key given to them did not unlock the property in question. The suspects would then be unreachable through phone.

Since the arrest, detectives have located the suspects' bank account and are in the process of freezing the account to "get restitution for our victims."

Hair stylist and single mother of three Tanzy Harris was a victim of the scam. She told CBS2 that she had responded to an apartment near Sunset and Vine in Hollywood that was listed for $1,288 a month. After paying the deposit and discovering that her key did not work, she noticed a sign posted on the wall warning that people were working a scam in the area.

Harris said, "Due to this scam, me and my family have been displaced and we're homeless and the scam that they pulled is terrible. It's tearing up families and I'm just glad that they're caught so they can't do this to anybody else. When I went to the apartment with the key that they gave me and the key didn't work, my heart immediately fell to my stomach and I was like 'what am I going to do now.'"

Harris admitted that red flags should have been up when she noticed the low price, but she believed that "with the economy being so bad maybe they're just trying to give someone a break." She warned prospective homeowners: "Make sure you do your research."

Anyone with information about the scam or knows of a victim is asked to contact the Southwest Detectives Burglary Station at (213) 485-6795 or to come to Southwest Community Police Station, located at 1546 West Martin Luther King Boulevard, and file a report.


Its not just renters that have issues with this. It can cause a great deal of trouble for landlords. I had one of my apartments used in a scam, one that was actually for rent. You can image my surprise when a guy shows up and cusses me out because he key doesn't work in an apartment that is currently vacant.

Its not exactly an easy situation for the landlord. Often times the rent is quite a bit lower then what it should be. Not to mention that scammers don't exactly care who the get their money from since their not actually renting.

The guy that showed up had bad credit when I ran his report through Couldn't pay the actual price of the rent. No deposit, bad credit and not enough income. What am I suppose to do? The guy is to high a risk a tenant and I depend on rent to pay my bills.

I didn't scam him. Nor did I fall for a scam for an apartment that is ridiculously too low for the area. And yet some how I'm the bad guy. Then of course there is the lovely chat with the cops after the guy got done screaming at me and called them.

Of course its now where near as bad for me as it is for the people that find themselves out of homes

There are so many scams out there - some of which are easy to spot and avoid, and other which are much more sophisticated. I run a business called that helps renters avoid scams, as well as foreclosures and other risks. Renters often don't realize that signing a lease is a large financial commitment. Before signing, it is important to make sure that the lease is signed by the correct property owner, and that the owner's financial, civil and criminal backgrounds are clean.

[...] Community Police Station, located at 1546 West Martin Luther King Boulevard, and file a report. L.A. Residents Conned By Craigslist Rent Scam | ATVN It is not our practice or intentions to publish misleading information about legitimate [...]

Happened up here in the SF valley too. Got an email telling me to bring my credit report with me. This was just to preview the apartment.

To search Silver Lake on Craigs List _ Search Silver lake and SilverLake. Tou will get more options.

so common anymore

Great delivery. Sound arguments. Keep up the
great work.

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