Airbnb-Craigslist rental scam dupes Vancouverites out of $1,000

Scammer pretends to own condo he booked on Airbnb, makes off with $1,000 deposits

By Erica Johnson, CBC News

Sarah Bidner says she’s “still in shock” after a longtime criminal bilked her out of $1,000 in a rental scam.  

Bidner and her boyfriend Daryl McDonald had been looking to rent an apartment in Vancouver starting in March. They’d checked out “at least a dozen” places, but in a city with a vacancy rate hovering near zero per cent, competition was fierce.   

When Bidner and her boyfriend spotted an ad on Craigslist for a downtown Vancouver condominium, the young couple set up an appointment to see it right away.  

Bidner says the man showing the condo was wearing jeans and a nice leather jacket and was clean cut.

“No red flags,” she says.

The couple was so anxious to secure the condo, they e-transferred a $1,000 deposit to the man’s bank account.

They never saw him again.

“It really opened my eyes to how you can just expose yourself so easily, without even knowing until it’s too late,” Bidner told Go Public.

The man claiming to own the apartment was 58-year-old Robert Reid.

Go Public confirmed Reid didn’t actually own the condo, he had rented it for a single night on Airbnb, a website for people to list and rent lodging.   

He then posted a new ad he created on Craigslist, listing the condo for rent for $1,700 a month.  

See full story here.