Fake home rental ad scam growing on Craigslist



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Posted on June 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 1 at 6:08 PM

DENTON -- DeCole Cody's story, about someone showing up to rent her Denton house, though her house was not for rent, sounded very familiar at News 8.

"I was alarmed,” said Cody.

In fact, a lot like the story we told you Thursday night about Michael Evans, in Dallas. He had a would-be renter show up to his door, too.
"He said there were pictures on Craigslist, there's an ad for it and he started describing the inside of the house which was weird,” Evans said Thursday.
Because of Evans story, News 8 is now hearing from people like Cody who said their homes have unwittingly become part of a Craigslist scam.
Photos and complete descriptions of their homes, which are for sale, are ripped from the internet and placed in a “For Rent” ad on Craigslist.

Victims then send rent money to a scammer to rent a home that's not for rent.
Denton Police warn renters to be vigilant, particularly if the landlord claims to be out of town, as in these cases.

"Don't just send money to someone on paper or someone you talked to on the phone. Make sure you meet them in person. If you're looking at renting that house, you want to go to that house. Be able to have access to go inside,” said Shane Kizer with Denton Police.
But the scammers are creative.
The one offering Cody's home even created a fake e-mail address, with Cody's husband's name, who is the real owner of the home.

"I'm expecting a truck to back up in my driveway at any minute,” said Cody.
On top of all that, the scammer even pretends to be a pastor who needs to rent the home because he's heading out on a year-long mission.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com