Single mum strapped for cash after visiting rental house listed by scammer

Angel Williams has been looking for accommodation for months. The end of her lease was fast approaching and she said she wanted to be closer to her job in Florence to cut down on the money she spends on gas. Now she is over $1,500 and has no home to show after being scammed. Covington Police are currently investigating. A few days ago, Williams thought her dream home was within reach. She took her three children to see the house, having visited it alone. “I’m about to have that dream home I’ve always wanted for myself and my kids,” she said. “We prayed over it and everything. Me and my mom prayed over it and it just felt like it was meant to be. It’s a fresh start for me.” “Go into your dressing room. Feel like a queen,” one of Williams’ children said during the tour. Williams said the children fell in love. The family took several videos inside what they believed to be their new home. “Everything felt legit,” Williams said. “I get there, they give me the code number for the lock, I get the key, I go in.” She had communicated via text, email and phone calls with the man posing as the owner. Twice she said he had given her an access code to enter the house. She said the codes were different each time. Williams found the man’s contact details through a listing of the four-bedroom Covington home on Craigslist. She asked the man if he accepted Section 8 vouchers, which is housing assistance from the federal government. The man said he did. He also sent her a rental application and a one-year rental agreement. She signed both. “He was like, ‘I want you to get to know me a little better before you get the property, get to know the property a little better.’ And I’m like, ‘OK’ and I do it. And it’s like everything seems legit. I get the application. There’s equal opportunity property there and everything,” she said. . The man told Williams he was a truck driver, processed payments on the road and only accepted a specific type of prepaid gift card as payment. Williams bought $1,700 worth of gift cards on Monday and sent photos of them, along with the receipt. The money was supposed to cover $1,300 for a security deposit and $400 for the first month’s rent. “An hour passes and I’m like, I’m waiting for the keys. I texted him, texted him, called him, couldn’t get through,” she said. “When he arrived around 5 a.m. and didn’t text me back or call back for the keys, I knew something was wrong. I felt it in my stomach.” Williams had no receipt, no keys and no house. The person she had contacted fell silent. “I tried not to cry in front of my daughter, but I’m like ‘daughter, I feel like we got ripped off. I feel like this man just took all of our money,'” she said. “Please Lord, that’s not true. This man didn’t take everything from me. So I tried to call back and he didn’t answer.” According to the Kenton County Property Assessment Administrator, the home is owned by AH4R Properties Two. LLC. American Homes 4 Rent legitimately rents the house for $1,950 per month. WLWT contacted the company to warn them of the scam and ask who had access to the property. The company has not yet responded. Tuesday night there was a fraud alert sticker on the door to the home. WLWT does not report the name of the scammer, as we cannot confirm that the person is who they claim to be. When reached by phone Tuesday evening, the man, whose number appears on the Craigslist ad, said the Covington home was still available for rent. WLWT asked the man whose number appears on the Craigslist ad if he also rented a house in Florence. The man said he rented the Covington house and the Florence house. WLWT has confirmed that no properties are available for rent. When WLWT investigative reporter Jatara McGee began asking the man about the $1,700 Williams had sent him, he first denied it and then hung up. Police recommend a few tips to avoid similar scams: Don’t use prepaid gift cards for payment. Don’t use websites like Craigslist where anyone can post for accommodation. Use reputable websites. Google also has a feature that can help you. Right-click on an image, for example an image of a house on a listing, and select the option to search the image with Google Lens. The feature will search to see if the photo is listed on other websites. If you notice another website has a different owner or seller, that’s a red flag.

Angel Williams has been looking for accommodation for months. The end of her lease was fast approaching and she said she wanted to be closer to her job in Florence to cut down on the money she spends on gas.

Now she is over $1,500 and has no house to show after being scammed.

Covington Police are currently investigating.

A few days ago, Williams thought her dream home was within reach. She took her three children to see the house, having visited it alone.

“I’m about to have that dream home I’ve always wanted for myself and my kids,” she said. “We prayed over it and everything. My mom and I prayed over it and it felt like it was meant to be. It’s a fresh start for me.”

“Step into your dressing room. Feel like a queen,” one of Williams’ children said during the tour.

Williams said the children fell in love. The family took several videos inside what they believed to be their new home.

“Everything felt legit,” Williams said. “I get there, they give me the code for the lock, I get the key, I go in.”

She had communicated via text, email and phone calls with the man posing as the owner. Twice she said he had given her an access code to enter the house. She said the codes were different each time.

Williams found the man’s contact details through a listing of the four-bedroom Covington home on Craigslist.

She asked the man if he accepted Section 8 vouchers, which is housing assistance from the federal government. The man said he did. He also sent her a rental application and a one-year rental agreement. She signed both.

“He was like, ‘I want you to get to know me a little better before you get the property, get to know the property a little better.’ And I’m like, ‘OK’ and I do it. And it’s like everything seems legit. I get the application. There’s equal opportunity property there and everything,” she said. .

The man told Williams he was a truck driver, processed payments on the road and only accepted a specific type of prepaid gift card as payment.

Williams bought $1,700 in gift cards on Monday and sent photos of them, along with the receipt. The money was supposed to cover $1,300 for a security deposit and $400 for the first month’s rent.

“An hour passes and I’m like, I’m waiting for the keys. I texted him, texted him, called him, couldn’t get through,” she said. “When it was around 5pm and he didn’t text me back or call back for the keys, I knew something was wrong. I felt it in my stomach.”

Williams had no receipt, no keys and no house. The person she had contacted fell silent.

“I tried not to cry in front of my daughter, but I’m like ‘daughter, I feel like we got ripped off. I feel like this man just took all of our money,'” she said. “Please Lord, that’s not true. This man didn’t just take everything from me. So I tried to call again and he didn’t answer.”

According to the Kenton County Property Assessment Administrator, the home is owned by AH4R Properties Two LLC. American Homes 4 Rent legitimately rents the house for $1,950 per month. WLWT contacted the company to warn them of the scam and ask who had access to the property. The company has not yet responded.

Tuesday night there was a fraud alert sticker on the door to the home.

WLWT does not report the name of the scammer, as we cannot confirm that the person is who they claim to be.

When reached by phone Tuesday evening, the man, whose number appears on the Craigslist ad, said the Covington home was still available for rent.

WLWT asked the man whose number appears on the Craigslist ad if he also rents a house in Florence. The man said he rented the Covington house and the Florence house. WLWT has confirmed that no properties are available for rent.

When WLWT investigative reporter Jatara McGee began asking the man about the $1,700 Williams had sent him, he first denied it and then hung up.

Police recommend a few tips to avoid similar scams: Don’t use prepaid gift cards for payment. Don’t use websites like Craigslist where anyone can post for accommodation. Use reputable websites.

Google also has a feature that can help you. Right-click on an image, for example an image of a house on a listing, and select the option to search the image with Google Lens. The feature will search to see if the photo is listed on other websites. If you notice another website has a different owner or seller, that’s a red flag.

About Gene Schafer

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