01/27/2015 01:59 EST | Updated 03/29/2015 05:59 EDT

Craigslist rental scams twice detected by couple seeking tenancy

A North Vancouver couple say they were almost scammed twice while apartment hunting on Craigslist.

Merilin Balanza and Bob Bailey have been looking for a place to rent for a month. But they said it hasn't been easy because of the number of fraudulent listing they keep encountering.

The first time was three weeks ago when the couple saw an ad for a two-bedroom house. They became suspicious when the landlord offered to mail the keys in exchange for money.

"He's telling us, he's going to ask us to send the money," said Balanza on Tuesday morning.

"It seemed suspicious because how can we rent an apartment we didn't see?"

Another red flag went up for the couple when they noticed the landlord would only correspond by email and never answered the phone.

2nd listing raises more concerns

Not long after, they found another rental listing on Craigslist and once again, the behaviour of the landlord raised concerns.

"He was going to be out of town for six years, but he wanted to rent me an apartment," said Bailey.

When the couple drove by the unit, they realized it was already rented.

Craigslist scams are not new. Earlier this month, a CBC investigation uncovered a scam listing for luxury rentals in Coal Harbour had cost several families thousands of dollars.

In one case the victims attempted their own citizen's arrest, leading to a warning from police about taking the law into their own hands.

The couple said they've contacted police about the ads, but believe online forums should be regulated.

"Craigslist should be monitoring their ads," said Bailey.