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I-Team10 Investigates: "I'm tired of these bad guys winning all the time"

Updated: 10/16/2013 5:44 PM
Created: 10/16/2013 5:05 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

Imagine putting your house on the market and two weeks later the I-Team knocks on your door and you find out someone you don't know is trying to rent out your house. We alerted a local man today who had no idea his home is part of an online scam.

We want you to be aware too.

We got a tip from a viewer about this and decided to check it out.

Here's what's happening.

Someone takes pictures and descriptions of houses for sale off a realtor's website and creates a page on Craigslist saying the house is for rent. People interested in renting are on the brink of losing a ton of money and the real owners don't know about it until we show up at their house. 

Brean: Did you know that your house was listed for rent on Cragislist?

Paul Reiss: I had no idea.

Paul Reiss is just trying to sell his house. We found the listing of Reiss' house on his realtor's web page. But we found the identical house and description on Craigslist. 

Same house. 

Same description. 

Only the Craigslist page says the house is for rent for $1,100. Reiss says his house has never been for rent. 

Brean: What do you think about that? 

Reiss: Foolishness.

Cindy Moriarty is Reiss' agent. How big of a problem is this? She says this the second listing in her agency that has ended up on Craigslist in about a month. 

"Well it's starting to come back again," Moriarty said. "This was a problem I would say about two to three years ago and now it's starting to resurface."

We were contacted about this problem by News10NBC viewer Ken Yaeger. His daughter answered the Craigslist ad for Reiss' home. Yaeger started getting suspicious when his daughter showed him the emails she got from the man posing as the owner on Craigslist, including one that asked her to send first month's rent via Fed-Ex.

Read one of the emails below

"The reason I contacted you is because I'm tired of these bad guys winning all the time," Yaeger said. "And taking advantage of the innocent people out there."

Yaeger gave us the phone number for the man his daughter contacted to rent the house. The call goes straight to voice mail. Our email to the man has gone unanswered too. 

Brean: So if there was someone out there saying it was for rent, that would be wrong, it would be a scam, right?

Reiss: I'd try to help them, but it wouldn't involve my house.

We obtained one of the emails Yaeger's daughter received. Here's what it says:

Hello,

Thanks for your interest.I must confess that I am very very new in this landlord business.My name is GREG CLARK ,I own the house located at (129 Charit Way Greece, NY 14626)My lovely home is still available for lease and i want a responsible person or family who are neat and also believed that they have all what it takes to take care of the house as if it where there own.Please be informed that i am leasing the house because I was transferred from my place of work to RICHMOND VA and i came over with my lovely wife KIMBERLY CLARK  because of the love I have for her and we shall be staying for at least 4 to 5 years before coming back to the house. I work as a Robotic Programmer & Welder/Fitter here in RICHMOND VA and got married to a lovely wife who is a member of Joyce Meyer Ministries.we both bought the house when we got married.We wanted to sell the house since we will be staying longer than we thought so we searched for an agent and getting upon getting one we stroked a deal but later my wife advised me not to sell the house anymore. I reasoned with her and accepted her advice so we contacted the agent back and requested for our keys and documents and put it for rent since we will back to the house in the next 4 to 5 years.We would have given the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent was asking too much of an agent fee and also made the rent high.We were not getting the responses we needed so i decided to terminated our contract with them and put it up for rent ourselves.If you notice, you will discover that the price we are offering is far below standard price and this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property.The house is available for as long as you want.The rent is $1100 and $1000 for Security Deposit For this 3 br,2 ba ...Utilities such as Air Conditioner Dishwasher  Walk-in Closet Refrigerator

Vaulted Ceilings Washer/Dryer Cable etc are all included in the rent.

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

1)Your Full Name________________________

2)Current Address_____________________________

3)Cell phone number(________)Best time to reach you?

4)State________________

5)City__________________

6) Zip______________

7)Are you married______________________

8)Do you have Kids__________

9)Do you have a pet______________

10)Do you have a car______________________

11)Occupation______________

12)How many people will be living in the house___________

13)Reasons for Leaving present home_________________

14)How long lease are you looking for______________

15)How soon do you intend moving in________________

16)Date of Birth________________

17)Numbers of Cars________________

18)A picture of occupant________________

19)How soon can you make the payment for the security deposit________________

20)How soon do you want to receive the keys/documents________________

=====================================================

   Application Comment

=====================================================

Please make sure this questions are filled correctly because the best way you answer with your comment will impress me the more to accept your application.

I await your urgent response

Sincerely.

GREG CLARK.

The Craigslist entry which shows Paul Reiss' home is now gone. Ken Yaeger says he filed a complaint on Craigslist and when the I-Team checked today it did not exist. 



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