GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Grand Rapids area woman and her kids do not know where they will live come the first of the month after they fell victim to a rental housing scam.
Cary Brand wanted to move from her mobile home into a bigger place. She began to search online for a house to rent when she came across a listing on Craigslist.
The real owner of the home was renting the house and had posted the listing to Craigslist, but a scammer took his picture and created a separate fake posting.
"I thought I found the house of my dreams," Brand said.
The price was perfect for her budget at $625 a month.
"I prayed and I thought God sent me something real good and it just blew up in my face, " said Brand.
Brand then began to receive emails, texts and calls from the scammer who used the name of the real home's owner.
"He called. He said he's a missionary guy," said Brand, "I believed him because he said he was through the church."
The man convinced Brand to wire $300 in cash using Western Union to a woman in Georgia. He then promised to mail her keys.
Brand wired the money, but got suspicious when the scammer began asking for more money.
John Smith, the real homeowner's representative told 24 Hour News 8 that he has seen scams like this before.
"It ticks me off because it's not right, " said Smith.
Along with wiring $300, Brand also sold her lot and has to be out of her home by August 1. The family is now searching for a new home.
"I don't want to be on the streets. No mom wants to do that for their kids," said Brand.
24 Hour News 8 tried to contacting the scammer using the internet phones number her contacted Brand from. We left a message, but have not received a call back.
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