She nearly got scammed, so she's warning others

Posted at 11:29 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 23:29:38-05

BELLEVUE, Ky. -- Marissa Torrey thought she'd found a perfect place to rent. It was on Ward Avenue in Belleveue, and it had everything she wanted.

She found the ad on Craigslist. The owners wanted a $700 deposit, plus $750 for the first month's rent, without ever speaking to Torrey by phone.

"They told me that they were on mission work through what, to me, looks like a legitimate missionary work company in Africa, and they didn’t have time to sell their house or rent it out before they left," Torrey said.

It's not that Torrey didn't try to get in touch with the supposed owners; they just were never available.

"They sent me emails through an AOL account and a phone number that was a Google phone number that they told me to text and call, and every time I tried to call, nobody would pick up," she said. 

Torrey's boyfriend got suspicious, so Torrey posted a message about the house on a community Facebook page.

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"A real estate agent that saw the post I made about the house, messaged me and said, 'Trust me, it's a scam,'" Torrey recalled. "She had just helped her clients find it to rent it."

In fact, the house was for rent -- but the real listing was on Zillow, and the real owners live in Colorado. Torrey said she was devastated and cried for nearly an hour.

"It's just hard to think that, you know, there may be someone who’s less fortunate than I am that would literally get taken for thousands and thousands of dollars," she said.

Experts say you should never send money for a rental without getting a tour first. Also, don't deal with someone who refuses to meet in person, and avoid listings with high upfront deposits or fees.