Beware of rental listing scams circulating around Acadiana

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- A local woman reached out to News 10 about a rental listing scam she was a victim of. She says a scammer used pictures from her house for sale online up for rent.

Now, she’s wanting to warn others this can happen to anyone.

Lucy Sorrel explained, “It was unbelievable. He was very sincere, like trustworthy.”
Sorrel describes a scammer who posed as her late husband trying to rent out her house in New Iberia.

“Unfortunately, I got a call from my realtor saying that my house was listed on Craigslist for rent, and they found out through a person looking at the house, and so I went on Craigslist, and sure enough, there was my house up for rent, $900,” said Sorrel.

The scammer took pictures and information from the realtor’s website where Sorrel’s house was listed for sale.

She said she flagged the Craigslist ad and emailed them over 50 times.

She knows of at least seven people who filled out an application online and viewed the home in person. But, she knew it was a scammer she was dealing with.

“He wanted 2 months rent and a deposit and if you had any pets, there were pet deposits, and you had to fill out an application,” added Sorrel.

Here are some of the responses from the scammer sent to people who filled out an application on the fake ad:
“I want you to drive down to the house asap, you can peep through the window for better view of the inside cause the keys are here with me and make sure you look around so you can see how the property is been taken good care of, this is not all about the money at all but a good tenant who will take good care of the house cause that is part of the reason am doing this myself.”

Sorrel said, “Someone that saw the ad went to look at the house because he had told them I’m in Texas, I’m not there, but go peep through the house, look through the windows, and he said, ‘don’t mind the sign’ because I did have it up for sale.”

The Better Business Bureau warns about this type of rental listing scam.

“We know scammers do duplicate ads, and when there are legitimate ads out there, it’s easy to find the pictures, the properties, the things that are for sale or rent, and then pose as if it’s your own property, and that’s exactly what scammers have done,” Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.

Sorrel said she wants to warn others susceptible to these kinds of housing scams.

“My main goal was to let people know they’re going to try anything, and I pray to God this person gets help because they actually need it,” she said.

The Craigslist fake ad has since been removed and Sorrel’s house is now sold.  

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau to help you watch out for these types of rental scams:

  • The scammer requests you provide prepaid gift card information or wire funds through some type of money transfer.
  • Typos, grammatical errors, and improper wording or context in the ad.
  • If the scammer requests for your bank account number, social security number, or a code sent to your cell phone via text or phone call.
  • The rent is much lower than similar properties in the area.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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