UPDATE: Federal, local law enforcement still looking for suspect in Craigslist scam

Craigslist suspect (WRDW-TV)

The unidentified Craigslist scammer suspect. (WRDW-TV)

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A local Craigslist scam may now be linked to an international one.

Federal and local law enforcement are looking for the elderly woman who identifies herself as Moriya Ariff. She is said to have scammed a woman into renting a home on Birnam Place that is owned by someone else.

The suspect is said to have stolen a passport and military ID, added her picture to the IDs and changed the name to Moriya Ariff. The real Ariff used to live in the home and is related to the actual owners.

Investigators say the suspect may have gotten the key by making a duplicate key from one that was left in a real estate office dropbox.

The suspect texted the victim with an international number, which investigators say could be a sign that international scammers are using the suspect to do their dirty work.

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga.-- What was once her dream house is now a nightmare after a very detailed scam left an unsuspecting woman without the home she paid for.

"That's when I spoke with the neighbor, and he said, 'Oh, Matt done finally rented the property?' And I was like, 'Who's Matt?'" said scam victim Consuela Maloyd.

Matthew Woodworth is the real owner of the house: the same house Maloyd thought she rented from an elderly woman she found on Craigslist.

"When we met, she introduced herself as Moriya Ariff. She wrote me out a receipt as well as a lease, and she issued me two keys, and the first set of keys she gave me didn't work," Maloyd said.

That was her first clue that the home Maloyd thought she paid for wasn't really hers.

But it wasn't easy to tell. The woman who deceived her had some convincing documents.

"She showed me her identification, which was a military ID and passport, and a notice stating that she owned the property," Maloyd said.

It was after talking to neighbors and running into the real renter that Maloyd realized she was the victim of a scam by a woman who acted very religious.

"It was just so hurtful. So hurtful. How can you pose to be a mercenary for God if you're doing evil to people? It's not fair," Maloyd said.

Maloyd says she told the rental company what had happened and got a surprising response.

"She was like, 'Oh yeah people call in and get information on the property and put it on Craigslist and pretend that it's on.' She said most of our property is like that. So I said, 'So there is nothing I can do?' She said no," Maloyd said.

Maloyd has two kids and one on the way. They were all living in a hotel before she found this property on Craigslist.

To make matters even worse, while we were talking, Maloyd realized this woman had gotten everything from her birth date to her Social Security number, and from text notifications she received on her phone, Maloyd thinks this same woman has been using her credit card.

Now she says she's just waiting, hoping this innocent looking accused scammer can be stopped before she does this to anybody else.

Initial report:

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The suspect let the victim look around the house and had the victim sign paperwork and put down the first month of rent with a partial deposit, which totaled about $750.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office wants your help in identifying a Craigslist scamming suspect.

The victim met the suspect, who identified herself as Moriya Ariff, and an older white male in reference to a Craigslist ad about a home rental on Birnam Place.

The suspect let the victim look around the house and had the victim sign paperwork and put down the first month of rent with a partial deposit, which totaled about $750. The victim received a receipt for the payment.

When the victim called Georgia Power to transfer her utilities to the home, they told her to turn off the main breaker inside the home. When she went to do this, the realtor representing the real owner of the house saw her and told her she had been scammed.

The suspect in this case showed a passport and retired military ID card, neither of which were issued by the government. She has not been identified at this time.

If you have any information on the suspect, call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.


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