BOERNE, Texas - Scammers targeting homes for sale are taking sellers' personal information, creating a fake rental ad to try to get your money, and homeowners are left with the headache.
"All we expected was to see the moving vans pull up in front of the house and demanding the key!" Nancy Frazier exclaimed.
Frazier and her husband aren't moving but she's worried someone will try to move in soon. She listed their Boerne home for sale last Wednesday and two days later, people started showing up at the door, but they didn't want to buy; they wanted to rent.
"To have people, especially on the seedy side, show up at your house and email this falsified account...I wasn't really appreciating that," she said. "It was immediate that the scammers put something on craigslist."
Even a woman from Iowa nearly bought into the scam. She received a rental questionnaire from the craigslist poster, who had created a fake email in Nancy's name. That poster had cooked up a story about moving to Africa and needing a tenant in Boerne.
"They (the poster) took all the information off MLS," Frazier explained. "All the realtor information, the house dimensions, my name. It was very professionally done."
The woman in Iowa contacted Frazier's realtor and realized it was a scam. For a $600 deposit and $800 a month, about half a dozen people were interested in the fake rental ad, and Frazier's house isn't the only target.
"Sure enough, the home we happened to be interested in purchasing also had the exact same ad," she said.
That home happened to be in Leon Springs. Another ad posted Monday on craigslist advertised a half-a-million dollar dream home north of Boerne for rent for just $500. The realtor says to keep dreaming: the ad is a sham. News 4 WOAI contacted the poster, who emailed the same questionnaire and story about moving to Africa. However, we never heard back after we asked to meet with the poster.
Now Frazier just hopes no one else will buy into the scam. Realtors recommend contacting the listing agent directly for any rental property and always doing your research.