INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of several people who lost out on a prospective rental to a scam is warning others by sharing her experience.
“I would just warn other people, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said Kelly Brown of Speedway.
Brown says she felt silly for almost falling for the scam.
The homeowner who keeps having people show up at his door looking to rent his house says he’s shocked.
“She actually sent me screenshots and the email had, ‘Landlord Kyle Stark,’ had a contract, had his ID that had my name on it, which was obviously fake,” said homeowner Kyle Stark describing his interaction with one of the scam victims.
For three weeks, Stark has had people stopping by his south side house thinking he’s an out-of-town homeowner renting his house to them because of a listing they saw on Facebook.
“Somebody stopped by the other day asking if they could meet me because they said they were moving in this weekend,” said Stark.
But Stark is actually selling his house. In fact, he’s a real estate agent and it’s his identity that seems the scammer has stolen to use in Facebook listings.
Brown didn’t find that out until yesterday when she and her husband stopped by the house to check it out for the second time. The man, who called himself Kyle Stark, said he had moved to Texas and couldn’t offer a walk-through, but encouraged them to look through the windows of the home.
“A part of me the whole time had been thinking that this could happen, but I just wasn’t listening to that part of me,” said Brown.
Fortunately, Brown says they listened to their gut before wiring the $1,000 security deposit. They had already worried $950 a month for a newly-renovated 3-bedroom, 2-bath house was too good to be true.
“I’m glad that we had reservations with sending the money immediately because when he sent me that lease, I wanted to,” said Brown. “I told my husband, ‘Let’s just send it now!’ and he was like, ‘No.’”
Others weren’t so lucky. One single mother with a baby on the way says she handed over $2,100. Now her lease is up and she doesn’t have enough money for a security deposit and first month’s rent at a new place.
And she’s not the only one. Which is why the real Kyle Stark has some advice for others checking listings that aren’t through a realtor.
“Call the number in the yard, meet somebody, you know?” said Stark. “I would want to meet someone face-to-face and talk to them. If it’s not the owner, a management company, something! You want something besides Facebook communication.”