Renters beware, criminals posing as property owners

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– Experts warn house hunters about people using websites like Craigslist to steal money from unsuspecting renters.

One woman found a great deal on a house in Oakwood.

Shana Tucker e-mailed the man who posted the listing, “From there, he gave us a long story basically of why he was out of town.”

The man claiming to rent the home sent Tucker lengthy e-mails detailing his job, recent promotion, and reason for moving his family out of the state.

After browsing photos of the home, Tucker asked to see it.

“He said, you have to go look at the house from the outside, because he’s out of town with the keys right now.”

She and her boyfriend went to look at the place.

“I wanted to see how far this would all go, because it was starting to feel really suspicious.”

Her suspicion grew when the alleged renter asked her to wire him the deposit, and promised to mail her the keys.

John North, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Dayton said this has been happening on and off for the last couple years, but there are red flags.

“A local, independent, legitimate individual who is trying to rent property is not going to give you a lot of personal information– including they’re out of town, or what they’re out of town for.”

North said Tucker did the right thing by asking a lot of questions.

“We found that people found the telephone number on the listing, is different than any number on the Craigslist space,” said North.

He said it’s never a good idea to wire money overseas. He also suggested looking out ads that are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

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