DENVER (KDVR) — Saturday afternoon, Lawrence and his fiancée Juli were gardening in their front yard when a car with two people pulled up asking to talk to them and see their property.
“They were like, ‘We’re going to be renting this house. We are coming for a walkthrough on Monday,’” Lawrence said.
The couple bought their home in the Athmar Park neighborhood back in 2020. They told FOX31 that the two women who showed up at their doorstep found their home listed for rent on Craigslist.
“We were basically like, we own this house so you might be getting scammed,” Juli said.
The two women then told the couple they both paid the man listed on the Craigslist ad $50 each for an application, along with one other roommate, in total paying the suspected scammer $150.
“They even filled out a rental application with the scammer, so now he has all their personal information,” Juli said.
Juli and Lawrence looked up the listing online. Sure enough, there was their home listed for rent. The couple tried calling the number associated with the post, but when the suspected scammer answered and they asked him why he had their property listed, the man on the other end hung up.
“He’s just going to put up another listing of another place and go on with his life,” Lawrence said.
FOX31 also tried calling the suspected scammer a few times and the call went to voicemail.
How to avoid Craigslist rental scams
The couple warns those looking to rent: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“They were listing this as a three bedroom with the rent significantly lower than the other similar spots around town,” Lawrence said.
But the couple understands why the ad on Craigslist was so believable. They said the scammer pulled all the pictures and information from the Zillow ad originally posted when the home was for sale back in 2020.
“All the photos from the listing are still on Zillow from two years ago, and the description they took was word for word in the Craigslist ad, so it sounds super legit,” Juli said.
The couple did contact Denver Police, who they said pointed them in the direction of the fraud department. But the couple understood since they didn’t lose any money in the scam, they can’t file a report. FOX31 also reached out to Denver Police but hasn’t heard anything back.
“I mean, people are getting roped into a scam. What, are they going to think I had something to do with it and show up at my doorstep upset?” Lawrence said.
The couple warns renters to not use Craigslist to find a place to rent, to never pay money or send personal information ahead of seeing a place, and that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.