12 On Your Side: Aiken property owner becomes victim in online rental scam

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AIKEN, SC. -- Simmie Moore enjoys turning the old into the luxurious.

"They're all from about 1925," she said as she showed News 12 some of her properties.

A week ago, two potential tenants contacted the owner of Aiken Luxury Rentals to inquire about an ad they saw on Craigslist.

"It made me feel angry and upset," Moore said. "We put a lot of hard work and effort into this and someone was trying to steal our ideas and property and then try to put a scam on someone else ... for a very much reduced rent."

News 12 On Your Side emailed the scammer on Craigslist to ask about the rental. He emailed back that he "personally owns the house," is out of the country for "missionary work" and that the keys are with him in West Africa. He says that we may see the rental listed on other sites because he used to use a real estate agent.

"Luckily, Aiken Public Safety was very proactive and came here right away and I feel that helped me alert other people to the possibility of the scam," Moore said.

Here are a few ways to spot a rental scam:

  • Religious or personal sob stories are attached to the ad.
  • They can't meet with you in person.
  • They ask for money to be mailed.
  • The price is to good to be true.

Finally, do you homework, cross reference and verify information online. It's as simple as a Google search.

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