Dana Samartine was trying to rent her family’s home as they readied to move into a new one. She was contacted by one renter who wanted to know why the home was cheaper on Craigslist than it was in another listing on Zillow.
“I went on Craigslist myself and I opened up this ad, and I saw pictures of my house and my description, my words, my everything,” Dana said. “We were scared. We have a little one. We don’t want people looking in our windows.”
The ad listed her home, saying the owners were out of town, but renters could drive by and peek in. Some people actually showed up. The scammer even asked people to fill out housing applications and requested a security deposit up front.
“It’s just terrible what he is doing to these people,” Dana said. “In some ways, it’s almost believable. The way he is writing these things, he sounds like an actual person talking to someone about renting out the house. He is talking like a landlord.”
The mother contacted the scammer via text. She could not believe his response.
“Dana, it’s nice to meet you. I need to use your home to make a few bucks, you know?” he wrote.
“I responded, ‘Are you serious? Go get a job and stop using people for your scams,'” Dana said.
The scammer told Dana he would take down the ads if she paid them money. Obviously she did not. Craigslist ads expire in seven days, so the ad would disappear on its own eventually.
In the meantime, Dana reached out to Craigslist for help. She contacted the Denver Police Department, who said there was little they could do.
“It’s almost funny. Is this guy for real? But he is. He really is,” Dana said.
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Footage provided by KDVR (Fox 31 Denver)
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