A Midland homeowner contacted Big 2 News after the house she was selling appeared in fraudulent ads on multiple websites saying it was for rent.
Owner Debby Sifuentes put her mother’s former home on the market last week.
Shortly after being listed for sale, the home also appeared on craigslist and trulia.com for rent – ads Debby had nothing to do with.
“I think within a 24 hour period of time is when the site went up, because the pictures that were up on the site didn’t have the realtor’s sign in the yard,” Sifuentes said.
The price on some of the fraudulent listings was well below market value.
“Evidently, it was a bargain, that’s why it had so many calls,” said Sandy Hanson of Legacy Real Estate. Hanson is the listing agent.
“I feel very frustrated that these are wasteful times for me and also the opportunists that are trying to rent a home,” Hanson said.
Tuesday afternoon, several cars drove by the home and people in two different vehicles stopped to inquire about an ad they had seen on craigslist.
Destiny Reyes is looking for a home to rent in Midland.
“We had been looking for other places too but this one seemed too good to be true,” Reyes said. “And it said Dogs ok, that’s why too.”
Another would-be renter did get in touch with Sifuentes, the real owner.
She shared an email she got from the person posing as the homeowner.
It read in part, “We are looking for a God fearing family that could take our home as their own.”
The email advised, “You can drive by the house for now to see the outside… every member of my family is out of town due to my missionary work.”
“That’s pathetic,” Sifuentes said, “to use God’s name to benefit them when it was evil from the very beginning.”
“It’s sad,” Hanson said, “should anyone have sent in a deposit, should they have thought they were getting a home and then to end up here with being a homeowner occupied already sold property. That’s my biggest fear that someone will be taken advantage of.”