Scammers try to rent out Cedar Rapids home
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
A Cedar Rapids house up for sale is getting a lot of interest but not in the way the owner was hoping.
Scammers posted the home along Old Marion Road for rent using Craigslist; that’s when realtor Susan Eaton started getting calls.
“They'll ask me questions about it and then I'll realize they're asking me rental type questions,” says Eaton.
When it became clear scammers where using the property, the owner put up a sign in the front yard to warn that the rental ad was a fake.
“What this scammer does is he has them go to the house and he says you know I’ll send you all the inside shots but go ahead and walk around the house,” Eaton says.
The scam even pulled pictures from Eaton’s real-estate listing.
Craigslist provides information on how to spot scams, and tries to weed them out by reminding users of what's not allowed.
Out of about 50 calls to Eaton's phone, the truth came too late for two people.
Each wired deposits of more that $650 through a money transfer service at a Walmart and then came looking for keys.
Cedar Rapids Police say that it’s money, they'll likely never get back.
“The accounts will change the numbers can be fictitious and once that money is wired, especially through some of these box stores, it's almost impossible for investigators to do any kind of trace to locate it,” says Greg Buelow, Public Safety Communications Coordinator for Cedar Rapids.
Buelow adds that Cedar Rapids Police have investigated 5 similar cases in the last 2 years but none of them have resulted in arrests.
Eaton says over the years she has had 10 of her listings posted in similar scams; she warns if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't legitimate.
“Don't ever send money until you've actually looked at the place, don't ever send something with the promise of getting keys no matter how good it sounds,” she says.
Cedar Rapids Police say despite the challenges in solving theses scams they are still worth reporting.
The Craigslist ad has been removed.