APOPKA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - An Apopka couple says a stranger posted information about their home online and claimed it was available to rent.
“I felt very upset, very angry,” said homeowner Cathy Jacobson.
She now has a sign in front of the house that says, “This house is not for rent. The Craigslist ad is a scam!” Jacobson says a few days after she and her husband put their home up for sale, she was contacted about a Craigslist ad that listed as a rental.
“Took a picture of our house, he copied it from Zillow, the picture, I’m sure he did a screen shot. He copied the exact verbatim of what our ‘for sale’ listing is but represented it as for rent,” Jacobson said about the schemer.
Amber Lanctot says the ad looked legit. She emailed back and forth with the person who posted it on Craigslist, but couldn’t shake the feeling that the deal was too good to be true.
“The rent seemed too low for the area,” Lanctot explained.
She decided to drive by the house. That’s when she saw the “for sale” sign and got in touch with the real owners, the Jacobsons.
Local realtor Regan Jackson says she sees this scheme all the time, especially with bank owned homes that are sitting empty.
“If they're getting it right when its listed, they will steal our lock boxes, steal the sign, break-in, re-key and they get a renter in there,” Jackson said. “They always ask for cash deposits.”
In the Apopka case, the scheme fell apart pretty fast. The Jacobsons say they contacted Craigslist and the ad was taken down. Now they want to get to word out to renters that what you see online may not always be what you get.