Brighton family left homeless in rental scam

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- No Thanksgiving table. No place to celebrate the holidays. A horrible reality for a family in Brighton.

Mary said a scam artist tricked them into renting the home of their dreams, right under the nose of the "real" rental agency.

She found a home listed on Zillow, Craigslist and other sites by a man who said he had to quickly rent it out because his wife had cancer.

“We sent him our prayers, letting him know we would take care of the home," Mary said.

Mary said she gave him $1,500 and provided all of their personal information.

“He was even able to generate the codes to get in the lock boxes not only once but three times," Mary said.

When the man asked for even more money, saying his brother was also sick, Mary got suspicious and contacted the number on the rental sign in the front yard.

American Homes 4 Rent told her it had no idea who the man was. A police report was filed and an investigation is underway.

The bank account where Mary was told to make a deposit to pay the scam artist is now frozen.

In 2015, there was a similar case where a family of five rented an American Homes 4 Rent house from a scam artist in Green Valley Ranch.

The company has not responded to a request for comment.

Krista Ferndelli of the Better Business Bureau of Denver said Googling an address can uncover red flags.

“Anytime  that there are multiple listings posted on a property by several people or not by the person you are talking with that's a huge red flag," Ferndelli said.

Now, Mary and her family have all of their belongings stacked in the garage and are sleeping on the floor of the home until they will inevitably be asked to leave.

They are without the money stolen from them and can barely afford food.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for them.