FRUITA, Colo. — A cute house at a good price in a nice neighborhood in Fruita.
That’s the impression Becca Malott got when she saw an ad for a rental property on Craigslist. But something seemed off.
“Just way overshared and had a ridiculous sob story,” says Malott. So she contacted who she presumed to be the home owner to get more details on the house. “And he got back to me and it was like, even more red flags, definitely scammy but I did drive out to the property because they gave an address,” she says.
That’s where she saw the for sale sign in the yard and obtained the contact information for the real owners of the house, confirming the rental ad was a scam. “They covered their bases really well, it was very borderline, and if I hadn’t run into so many people scamming for work I probably wouldn’t have caught it,” she says. Malott didn’t fall for the scam, because she knew what to look out for. But not everyone is so lucky. And when the damage is done and money is sent, often it’s too late to get those funds back.
That’s why Fruita police Lieutenant Nick Peck says the best way to approach these types of scams is to avoid falling for them in the first place. He lists some red flags to look out for:
If they don’t want to meet in person;
If they don’t want to show you the inside of the property;
If they don’t want you to send money before providing a lease.
And Lieutenant Peck says if you do think you’re being scammed or have any doubts, to contact your local Police Department.