On Your Side: Springfield tenant loses $1,600 in renter scam

Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Renter beware. A Springfield woman thought she was about to move into her next home. Instead, she lost $1,600 to a scammer.

Megan Steinshouer found the ‘For Rent’ listing on Facebook Marketplace.

“I saw this cute little, three bedroom, two bath house with a little garage, and I thought that’s perfect. It’s only $800,” she said.

She asked to see the inside but was told there was a family emergency. The so-called landlord’s grandmother is sick.

“I recently lost a grandparent to sickness, so it was kind of a soft spot,” said Steinshouer.

She was told to pay the application fee, and the keys would be mailed. She sent $100 via CashApp.

“Before I send any more money, I’m going to need to see a lease to be legally binding,” she said.

She got a six-page lease that appears pretty standard. There are conditions listed for payments, maintenance, and utilities.

“I signed it. (I) Sent it back over. I guess I’ll send the money as soon as you send the tracking number for the keys. From there, it kind of went downhill,” said Steinshouer.

She sent $1,500. She drove by the home. Saw there was a ‘For Sale’ sign. (I) called the number and was told the house was not for rent.

She requested a refund on CashApp and reported the transaction as a scam. Her refund request was declined. The other party, the scammer, would not agree to send her money back.

“I just lost all of that. Lesson learned the hard way. Lesson learned,” she said.

Here’s how this scam works:

Crooks will go through legit ‘For Sale’ listings. Steal the description and photos. Then create their bogus ‘For Rent’ listing on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

  • Never send money without seeing the inside of the rental.
  • If there’s a ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard -- that’s a red flag.
  • Research the Landlord. See if there’s an LLC tied to the rental.
  • You know the rest if the price seems too good to be true.

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