Scammers using homes for fake rental listings

Scam artists using man's home as target

PHOENIX - Two weeks ago Travis Fetting got an unexpected visitor at his central Phoenix home.

“He knocked on the front door asking if our house was up for rent, it caught me off guard because we've lived in this house for a year,” Fetting said.

At first Fetting thought the family had the wrong address.

“Being in a neighborhood that has houses with similar addresses I thought they were mistaken but once they showed me the actual post I was like no, that's our house,” he said, “and it was weird.”

The family showed Fetting the Craigslist rental posting they’d seen online.

It confirmed that someone had posted his house, the one he owns, on Craigslist in a fake rental listing that advertised the rent was $750 including utilities.

That family was only the first of many to stop by.

“We've had other people come by,” he said, “I guess because it's a cheap price for a 3 bedroom home and people want to jump on it before it's taken.”

“Once I reached out to my realtor - she told me, ‘yeah this is a thing’,” Fetting said.

The realtor told Fetting about rental scams that can be found all over Craigslist, Zillow and other rental sites.

Scammers take pictures they find online then create fake rental postings with the hope of asking potential renters to send them a deposit online for a home that isn’t actually for rent.

Typically, the homes are advertised for cheaper rent than is expected with the hope that people will pay the deposit out of fear they’re missing out on a great deal.

12 News found warnings in multiple states from law enforcement and from the various rental websites letting people know about fake rental scams.

Fetting had no idea it was so prevalent.

He now hopes to warn others about the scams people use when it comes to renting online.

Fetting had Craigslist take the post down and contacted the attorney general's office to report the scam.

Still, his security cameras continue to capture people stopping at his house and roaming around his property, to check out a house they think is potentially for rent.

“I think they’re trying to see if it (house) was empty or not,” Fetting said, “I don't think they can see inside the house because we have blinds but it's kind of awkward having random people check out your house thinking it might be up for rent."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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