Craigslist house rental scam
A couple thought they found a dream house on Craigslist, instead it turned into a nightmare of a situation.
Joe Brown and his fiance were hoping to move into a new home on July 15th, instead they’ve been stuck at the Travelodge on West Adams since July 14th, after being scammed out of nearly $1,000.
Brown said, "Nice house, you know, we went and looked at it. Didn’t get a chance to see the inside of it, you know we walked around and everything. And it was perfect. You know, it was one of them too good to be true deals and it turned out it was. It was too good to be true."
A person posing as a Home Real Estate agent named David Henriquez on Craigslist, who they never met, told them to wire $930 for a home on north 11th street. Brown said he was told that they have been tracking his activities and that there may be even more people this individual has scammed.
"He actually called me back, talked to him a couple of times and then right after morning. I kept asking him okay, when are you going to send the keys?" added Brown.
The keys never came and they soon found out they were the victims of fraud. The house was for sale, not for rent, something Shannon Harner, general manager of Home Services of Nebraska says is a tell-tale sign of a scammer.
"Google the property and see if it’s for sale, because if the property is for sale, what likely happened is they scraped it off of a sale website and then just put it on Craigslist as a rental. That happens all the time," said Harner.
She says also to never wire money to an unverified source. Home Real Estate says they’ve had 10 similar incidents of people impersonating an agent. Lincoln Police say they’ve had four similar investigations in the last three months.
"Go to the Home Real Estate website or any website, or whatever management it says it is. Independently verify the name of the agent and the contact information," said Harner.
Right now, Brown is just trying to pick up the pieces after a crime that wiped him out of most of his money.
"That took everything we had, you know, scraping the bottom of the barrel now to get back and forth to work. We’ve got two vehicles, so it’s very stressful," said Brown.
Harner said it’s important to do your research before buying or renting a home. You should always meet someone in person and be able to see the property before you make a deposit.
If you would like to help Brown has setup a GoFundMeAccount, click here for more.