A scammer advertised an Ashland homeowner's house for rent on Craigslist, drawing prospective tenants to the woman's door who would've lost $750 if they'd fallen for the deception.
The ad, which since has been flagged as a scam on the Craigslist website, advertised a home on Tolman Creek Road in Ashland but listed it as a Talent location.
Talent Police Chief Mike Moran said scams like this are meant to lure unsuspecting tenants into too-good-to-be-true deals. The scammers require a deposit to be wired — they claim they are out of town and unable to show the house — and promise 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, etc. 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 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 the post.
In her email to the newspaper, the homeowner said the potential tenants were ready to wire the $750.
"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 resides.
Moran said he's heard of similar scams in the past, and the scammers sometimes get very bold.
"I've heard cases where the scammer actually shows up at the house and shows them around," Moran said. "It sounds legitimate."
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.