AUSTIN (KXAN) - Chandra Anderson thought at first she found a really good deal on a really nice house. It was three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and a yard.
The price? $1,800. Half for the first month's rent, half for the deposit. She found it on Craigslist.
But when Anderson contacted the supposed landlord, something didn't feel right.
"They said we could look at the outside, but when we asked to do a walk through that’s when it became fishy," said Anderson, adding that the "landlord" wanted the cash sent via MoneyGram then she would be able to see the rest of the house.
"They said they would give us the account information after we signed the lease and after we send them the money they'd send the keys. We thought that whole thing was weird.”
Anderson ended up not sending the money; suspicious this was a scam. Turns out she was right.
"People sometimes take homes already on the market and repost pictures on a classified site and use those to say these are legitimate home rentals," said Jarrod Wise with the Better Business Bureau.
Not only was this house not really on the market, KXAN found out the woman living there owns the house and has no intention of leaving.
- The deal sounds too good to be true.Scammers will often list a rental for a very low price to lure victims.
- The landlord requires a substantial deposit before handing over the keys or even showing the property.
- The landlord asks the renter to wire money
Homeowner Jody Foster said: "It's a shock to me. I've been here a year and a month and I bought it back in August 2012 and I’m not moving anywhere."
So here's how it works. The scammer finds old listing, saves the pictures then re-posts it as a new listing. It’s completely random so anyones house could be picked. "
KXAN tried calling the number Anderson was given but no one would answer. The Better Business Bureau says no matter what, never wire money to someone.
"When people are asking for you to transfer money over wiregram, that’s a big red flag because sometimes that’s untraceable," Wise said
The Austin Police Department said they are aware of the incident and looking into it, however because the potential victim in this case never paid anything no crime was committed.
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