If you're looking to rent a home, and you're using craigslist, you need to be careful. That's because some houses listed in Eau Claire could be a scam.
We got word of the scam from a couple in Menomonie who looked into renting the properties. They say when they went to look at the houses after an email from the supposed owner of the properties, they found the houses weren't even for rent.
James Davis says he and his wife had been browsing craigslist daily, looking for a house to rent.
“Just came in Monday, was a three-bedroom home for rent and no address or anything. I emailed this address and later that day got a response back,” says Davis.
The person advertising the house emailed saying they were moving to a foreign country for missionary work, and would send keys—If Davis sent money.
“They did have that they needed a deposit to get the ball rolling, but once we started talking something wasn’t quite right and we kind of quit. I didn’t want to go too much farther. I knew something wasn’t right talking to him,” says Davis.
Davis says that homeowner on Violet Avenue in Eau Claire, whose home is currently for sale, knew nothing about the listing on craigslist.
“That same day we actually contacted another house, almost identical situation. Just got the info back on that today,” says Davis. “It's almost word-for-word the same scam.”
We spoke to the homeowner on Skeels Avenue. She didn't want to go on camera. But, she says the people involved in the scam used her real name to create a fake Yahoo email account to advertiser her house
Though both Davis and the homeowner say they've reported this scam situation to consumer protection and local police, this man says he's got his own warning for others looking for places online.
“Investigate thoroughly. If anybody says, ‘Send money, we'll send you keys,’ the light bulb should go off very brightly,” says Davis.
As of Wednesday evening, the listings were no longer on craigslist. We contacted the site's management for but did not hear back. We haven't heard back from local police yet, but one of the homeowners says she plans on contacting the FBI.