Here is how it works, the scammers will use the Multiple Listing Service for homes in San Diego and find a nice house that is vacant, good neighborhood and one that basically ticks all the right boxes. The scammer will then get their hands on untraceable mobile phones. The next step is to make a fancy listing on Craigslist and use those untraceable mobile phones as a contact point. As for the picture, its as easy as taking a picture with their mobile phones and uploading it to the Craigslist site. Naturally the price will be very attractive to lure in the victims.
When the victims call the confidence scam starts. The scammers will do their best to "rent out" their place and since getting breaking into a San Diego house isn't all that difficult, they will do it and just change the locks. The scammers will do all the normal things that house agents do and ultimately get the victims to pass them the "deposit" which is normally in the thousands. The last thing they will do is to dump the untraceable phone and the scam is complete.
San Diego Craigslist knows of this issue however find its extremely difficult to detect the scammers from the proper real estate agents. Craigslist has already received multiple complaints about this but they can only recommend the victim lodge a police report with the San Diego police department.
It is recommended that people looking to rent in San Diego verify that the listings that they see on Craigslist is real before putting down any money. This can be done by insisting that the "agent" shows you their real estate license and never to pay in cash. A check to the real estate agent's company is always preferred.