A scammer put a Talent homeowner's house on a Craigslist ad and advertised it as being ready to rent, an incident that brought some interested tenants to the woman's door and almost had them out $750.
The ad, which has since been flagged as a scam on the Craigslist website, advertised a home in the 200 block of Tolman Creek Road. Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said scams like this are meant to lure unsuspecting would-be tenants into too-good-to-be-true deals. A deposit is wired — the scammers claim they are out of town and unable to show the house — with promises a key will be sent in return.
"It's a scam that I haven't seen in a little while," Moran said. "They say the house is for rent, here's what the dimensions of it are, et cetera. The scammer says 'I'll mail you the key and you can move right in.'"
In this case, the fake landlord posed as a missionary who was out of the area and still trying to find tenants for the three-bedroom, two-bath house. The real homeowner, who did not respond to interview requests, said in an email to the Mail Tribune that the fake ad got a bite from a mother and daughter looking for a place to rent, even after a scam alert had been put up on Craigslist post.
In her email to the newspaper, the homeowner said the potential tenants who showed up on her doorstep were ready to wire money.
"I warned them it was a scam and told them to never wire money and always meet the owner and look inside the house before paying a deposit," she wrote.
Moran said it's not known where the scammer or scammers reside, but that the ad has been flagged on Craigslist.
Moran said he's heard of similar scams in the past, and that the scammers sometimes get very bold.
"In some cases, I've heard places where the scammer actually shows up at the house and shows them around," Moran said. "It sounds legitimate."
— Ryan Pfeil