A south Carolina woman went to visit her grandchildren in California for 10-days, and returned home Sunday to find the Beaufort home she had just purchased had been rented out to someone else.
Katherine Lang says she had not yet moved in to her new home, but upon returning from her vacation she went there to see if the pipes had frozen. What she found, according to The Beaufort Gazette, was a full house, including two women, dogs, cats, new furniture, cooking food and a load of laundry churning in her machine.
By all accounts, it seemed as if another family was moving in to her house. And that’s exactly what was happening.
Sadly, the would-be tenants, 22-year-old Tyggra Shepherd and her family, had been scammed.
According to Shepherd, she was preparing her family for a move from Kentucky for better job prospects and had responded to a Beaufort Facebook group ad from a woman named Rosie Juggles, offering homes for rent. Looking for affordable housing for herself, her husband and two small children Lang’s, three-bedroom newly-renovated home advertised for $850 per month was perfect.
“I was so crushed when I found out it was a scam,” Shepherd said. “… Finding a place to live in Beaufort is hard when you need something you can afford and still raise a family adequately.”
The scammer apparently entered the home via a key kept under the plastic cover of an outdoor electrical outlet. The scheming, fake “landlord” had even advertised Lang’s home as furnished, and described the items Lang had already moved into the home in the ad, including books and kitchen stools.
The scam cost Shepherd $1,150, wired after signing a fake lease agreement. Shepherd was told the back door was open and that she could begin moving her things in.
“She made it very believable,” Shepherd said.
According to the report, Beaufort police have received other complaints of similar scams, some involving apartments, and some from Craigslist ads.
Shepherd and Lang came to an agreement about Shepherd vacating the property, and the FBI was consulted in their case.
Shepherd cautioned prospective renters, saying they should always meet their prospective landlord in person and not deal online.
— Esther Medina (@EstherVideo) January 11, 2018