Woman warns others after scammed out of $1,200 on Craigslist rea - KCTV5

Woman warns others after scammed out of $1,200 on Craigslist real estate ad

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DeAnn Gould spotted a house for rent on Craigslist, thought she recognized the person posting the ad by the email address. (KCTV5) DeAnn Gould spotted a house for rent on Craigslist, thought she recognized the person posting the ad by the email address. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

We’ve all seen Craigslist scams and thought we’d never fall for one of those -- until you do. 

That’s what happened to a skeptical single mother who thought she had done her homework, finding a great rental house for herself and her daughter. Then, she realized she’d been scammed out of $1,200.

“It’s still very hurtful to me because I think about -- I've hurt my family. Not only did I hurt myself but I hurt my family,” DeAnn Gould said. “I literally wanted to cry." 

You would too after losing that much money. She wasn’t the only one. 

She’d spotted a house for rent on Craigslist, thought she recognized the person posting the ad by the email address. Turns out the person posting the ad cleverly used the name of a previous owner as part of the email address. They corresponded and talked about seeing the property, getting the keys and what the rent would be. 

Gould felt comfortable enough to send the $600 down payment and $600 first month’s rent -- $1,200 total. The people posting the ad said they would overnight her the keys and be sure to stop by after they got back in town. 

A few days later, Gould got an email at work.

“What the email actually said was they had received a better offer. So in my mind, I’m like what are they talking about?” Gould said. 

There was no mention of returning Gould's $1,200.

Turns out, Gould was one of multiple people who did the same thing.  Just ask Mark Wolf, the actual owner of the house seen on that Craigslist ad.  

Wolf, bought the house, renovated it and was currently selling it. Yes, Wolf is a real estate agent.  That was his home, not his Craigslist post. 

He knew someone posted an ad supposedly renting his house when he started getting phone calls. 

“In the beginning, I got 40 or 50 calls within a three-day period,” Wolf said. 

He told the callers it was a scam and not to send any money. For many though, it was too late. 

Wolf said he’s flagged Craigslist about the scam multiple times. Every time the website finally takes down the posting, the exact same listing pops up online a couple weeks later. That’s when his phone starts ringing off the hook again. 

Wolf’s advice for anyone looking to rent through an online ad is to never send money before meeting the landlord in person. Never send money before actually seeing the inside of the property. Also, look for landlords who do their homework on potential tenants with procedures like background checks. 

Gould shared her story because she doesn’t want it to happen to someone else. 

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