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Craigslist Rental Scam Hits Springfield House

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Bolivar woman said she nearly fell victim to a rental scam and that she's not alone.
"They're posing to be the owner, but they're not the actual owner."
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Bolivar woman said she nearly fell victim to a rental scam and that she's not alone.

The person behind the scam posted a fake advertisement for an actual house that's for rent in Springfield.

He made the rent cheaper than the actual listing and several people in town almost took the bait.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, a lesson Susie Bayer learned the hard way.

"When we saw a house for rent and it's listed as $300 a month we kind of jumped," she said.

She found a Springfield house on Craigslist, so she contacted the number listed.

"House for rent for $300 a month and that they will pay the utilities for the first 6 months, looking for the right people to take care of the property," she said, "So it was perfect."

A man claiming to be the owner said to wire him the cash for a deposit and then he would send her the key.

Luckily she visited the house first and a neighbor discovered the first hole in the man's story.

"The gentleman who portrays himself as the person who owns it sent me an email saying he was a medical doctor living in Florida. The neighbor said he was not a medical doctor and they actually live in Vegas," she said.

The local reality company that's actually leasing the property and got so many calls this weekend that they had to call the owners of the property, just to make sure they didn't put up their own Craigslist ad.

It turns out they didn't even know this was going on.

This scam is common, according to the Better Business Bureau.

"They're posing to be the owner but they're not the actual owner," President and CEO Judy Mills said.

Mills cautions folks to be on alert during the holidays.

"We see scams get really blown out of proportion because you know those scam artists they want to buy Christmas presents too," she said.

Susie said, looking back, she had ignored all the red flags.

"We were lucky we didn't send the money off," she said.

She hopes her story helps others avoid falling for the same crime.
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