Couple Scammed By Craigslist Real Estate Listing In Upper Arlington

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – Thomas Woods and Catherine Krack were looking for a new home.

They started their search on Craigslist and quickly found a listing for a 1,200 square foot home near Upper Arlington – a steal, for just $ 850 a month.

The price initially seemed too good to be true so they contacted the owner.

“He was telling us how he and his wife moved, and they want someone who will come and take care of their house,” Krack said. “Everything seemed legitimate. Except for the fact that we have never met this person in person.

The couple believed the lack of a face-to-face meeting and the cost was a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which is also why they agreed to electronically send a deposit and money to cover the expenses. additional.

In the end, thanks to the Bitcoin and Apple gift cards, requested by the owner, the couple spent $ 2,100 in total.

“The last bit of money we had went to a U-Haul and a warehouse. So we literally had no dollars in our name, ”Krack said.

No money and no house. Ten days after that first conversation, they heard from the real owners of the property – a local real estate company.

The man they believed to be the owner, who posted the ad on Craigslist, was a con artist.

“Unfortunately, there are just too many con artists who can put the consumer in a bad position,” said Matthew Long, realtor at HER Realtors.

Long said crooks copy and repost legitimate online ads, low prices to catch tenants looking for a good deal, and ask potential tenants to post a deposit.

“A lot of these scams are asking for money very quickly, and for me it’s definitely something a consumer should watch out for,” Long said.

Her advice, if you are considering renting or buying: Use an established property manager or broker. They have rules and regulations that they must adhere to that will protect you and your money.

“Always check who you’re dealing with,” Long said.

A lesson Woods and Krack said they learned too late.

“Meet the person,” Krack advised. “Don’t give them anything until you meet them. Meet them and make sure they have a lease on hand and things like that, before any money exchange.

The couple stay with friends and family as they get back on their feet and find a new place. They filed a police report, but could not get their money back. And the scammer repeatedly changed his phone number.

But there’s another part to that story: The couple moved into the house for over a week before learning they had been ripped off.

Tune in to Better Call 4 this Thursday to find out how it went.

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