DENVER — A man said a criminal scammed him out of $550 and the alleged rental property owner is also being victimized.
Paul Borger and his family wanted to rent a property in Breckenridge over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Borger found a property he was interested in on Craigslist.
“We looked at a couple other places and this was the best one because it was downtown Breckenridge. It was easy for all of us to get around,” said Borger.
He emailed back and forth with the alleged owner, a man named Rickey who lived in California. Eventually, Borger sent Rickey the money and Rickey sent back a rental agreement.
“That Sunday before we were going to go up there, I contacted him and I never heard back from him. Then the red flag popped into my head like ‘Hey, this doesn’t seem right,'” said Borger.
Borger contacted the property management company that oversaw the property, Sky Run, and employees said they’d never heard of a man named Rickey. Borger quickly realized he had been scammed.
In an email, Rickey said not only did he not own the property in Breckenridge, he now thinks he’s the victim of identity theft.
“It’s good that he knows now that someone has stolen his identity and using it to scam money from other people,” said Borger.
Borger pointed out the scammer used photos from Sky Run’s legitimate listing on the fraudulent Craigslist ad.
After Borger was scammed, he contacted Craigslist to take down the post. The company obliged, but then a new fake ad listing the same property popped up again.
The owner of Sky Run said it has been frustrating trying to get Craigslist to move swiftly and take down the bad ads.
“Unfortunately many guests and property managers are falling victim to this scam,” Sky Run said in a statement. “It’s important when renting a property that people use a reputable source like VRBO, Airbnb or a property management company directly and not use Craigslist.
“Most reputable property management companies in Breckenridge do not advertise through Craigslist because of the potential for being scammed.
“Craigslist has been less than responsive to requests to remove fraudulent listings and to ban users. I can only home that people are aware of these scams to take measures to avoid them.”
As of Friday night, Borger had not received his $550 back and he said at this point, he doesn’t think that will ever happen.