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Port St. Lucie police warn of Craigslist rental scam

Woman out nearly $1,000 after scam
Posted at 10:23 AM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 16:49:55-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Police in Port St. Lucie are again warning of a scam involving rentals found on Craigslist that turn out to be too good to be true.

The home along Viceroy Avenue has a neatly kept yard, and at $950 a month, according to a Craigslist listing, got the attention of a 20-year-old nursing student.

The student, who didn't want to be identified, texted back and forth with the contact for about a week before getting a PIN code to go inside the home.

“He didn’t ask me my name, or a background check," she said.

That didn’t raise red flags at the time.

“I was just so excited that I was like, 'Oh I’m going to pay the deposit,' because there was another family coming right after me so it was kind of a rush thing.”

The woman decided to get a feel for the neighborhood by driving around the community. So imagine her surprise when she came back to the house and found a Realtor showing it to another family.

“I was like wait, I put a deposit on this house and I’m paying first month why are you showing this house and he was like, 'sorry hon' you got scammed.' "

She asked the Realtor what the rental price was. $1,700 she was told.

“Yeah, it was a real letdown. Now I’m short $950 when that could have been put toward a real apartment."

Police say in these situations, it’s better to deal with individuals face to face, watch out for advance wire transfer requests, and be on the lookout for ads with much cheaper prices.