Craiglist scam targets DC apartment hunters

It's described as a full-on operation. 

"I've unfortunately received a few frantic phone calls saying, "Hey Koki, I wired you $5,000, and I haven't heard back from you. What's going on with the property?" 

Koki Adasi is the executive vice president at Compass Real Estate. 

"The biggest headache is getting those phone calls and text messages from tenants who have now sent money to somebody who they have no idea who it is. The money is gone," Adasi said.

Someone on the internet is using Adasi's identity to steal money from people looking to rent.

"Right now, there is a scam going on, on Craigslist where someone posts a fake rental ad, and their sole goal is to get someone who is desperate and looking to move to a property as soon as possible," he explained.

People like Carol Felicio are falling for these ads.

"I was so close to pressing send on sending my own money," Felicio said.

She almost fell for a 1-bedroom apartment under $2,000 on 14th and U Street.

"I was like, great this is wonderful for $1,680," she said.

She's not alone. Felicio and others thought these ads were legit since the name tied to the property is with a reputable realty group.

"While it said Koki Adasi Properties, it said dot org before the at Gmail. That was the main thing that gave me pause," Felicio said.

Koki Adasi

The scammers are using an email address with Adasi's name and even sending fake leases.

"It has my name on it," he said. "They have account information. It's even signed on where to route the funds. It's a very detailed operation that we need to get to the bottom of."

In a statement fo FOX 5, the FBI Washington Field Office says they are aware of similar scams.

According to their Internet Crime Complaint Center "there has been a steady increase in losses reported by victims of real estate/rental scams in the last three years."

Adasi's most recent inquiry about a fake leasing was on Monday. He's received over 40 inquiries about a Craigslist posting.

If you're looking to rent in the D.C. area, he says please take these steps.

"Always double check, always confirm. If you're ever sending money to anybody - you know who it is, where it is going, and you can verify it," he explained.

To file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center visit

FOX 5 also reached out to Attorney General Karl Racine's office. 

In a statement, the AG's office wrote:

"The Office of the Attorney General prioritizes combating deceptive and unethical business practices to protect District residents and has a dedicated Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) to stand up for consumers. Through our efforts, we’ve successfully held predatory actors accountable and returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to District residents. If you have a concern or consumer complaint, please reach out to our office. We try to make it easy for residents to reach out to our office and can be reached by phone, text, or email by going to"

Check out tips shared by the FBI to prevent people from becoming victims below: 

  • Do not wire funds to people you do not know.
  • Do not put money towards a house or apartment you have not seen.
  • Confirm the identity of the landlord by researching public records to find out who owns the property you are seeking to rent or purchase.
  • Do not fill out applications online until you have met directly with the property manager.
  • Know local rental prices.
  • Look for online reviews, references, and testimonials from past inhabitants.
  • Be wary if a potential tenant wants to rent property sight unseen.
  • Be wary if a potential renter says they are out of town and will send you a cashiers’ check.
  • Be wary if a potential landlord says he is out of the country and wants the rent sent to a foreign account.
  • Do not accept overpayment for properties. If you receive a check for more than the specified amount, return it. Do not deposit it.