Woman nearly caught in rent scam

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
June 25, 2012 3:09:30 PM PDT
Shanika Tucker wanted to rent a new home for her family and found one on Craigslist that looked perfect.

"I went by and looked at the house. It was a nice house," she recalled.

Tucker responded to the online ad and heard back right away. The person who claimed to own the home said he was renting it out because his job sent him to London. The rent was just $700, and utilities were paid up for 12 months.

"We filled out the application, and he sent us back an email we were approved," said Tucker.

The next step was sending the rent payment.

"First we had to send him the $700 to secure the house for us," said Tucker.

By email, the owner told Tucker he needed the first and last month's rent. He wanted $1400 wired to him through Western Union. Tucker said the idea of wiring the money was a red flag for her, so she started doing some research. She found the same home she wanted to rent on another website, but this time it was offered as a  rent to own at almost double the price.

"I'm like, why is it on here for 1600 when it's on Craigslist for 700? So that's when I began to question the guy," said Tucker.

She sent her questions via email.

"He was real nasty about it, and he sent me an email [saying] don't ever email me again," said Tucker.

That was when she said she realized it was a scam.

"$1,400 is a lot to come by, and nobody has the money to just throw away," said Tucker. "Thank goodness I didn't send my money and I investigated him."

I've heard from over a dozen people who have had similar experiences to Tucker's. Many of those, however, did wire the money only to learn after the fact, it was a fraud.

Tucker did the right thing by doing her research. In fact, Craigslist has a scam section on their website, which says always deal locally with folks you can meet in person, and even it even states to never wire funds as that is a sure sign it's a ripoff.

And, this just doesn't just happen with rent situations, I've heard from viewers were it happens for cars, big ticket items like jewelry, even people looking to find a specific pet.

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