CLINTON, Miss. (WJTV) – It’s a phone call that Darlene Waibel and her husband were not expecting. A woman claiming that their home, recently put on the market, was for rent… and that she had already made her deposit.
“She was very sure that she was renting the house, and she says no, no I have their picture here. She was flipping her phone and showing us the picture. She had actually sent some money, so that was very sad.”
The false advertisement was copied and modified from a real ad about the same home. It asked for a refundable security deposit of $1200.00, and even claimed that a pastor created the post.
“They had our name and an email and telephone number listed that wasn’t ours, and I thought, gee, this could be a scam,” Waibel.
She was exactly right in that assumption. Authorities say sometimes posts are re-created from an actual property and in other cases the ads can be completely fake. In most cases, avoiding these problems boil down to common sense. At the same time, if you aren’t sure what to look out for, you could become a victim without even realizing it.
It’s never a good idea to wire money or use a prepaid card to pay for something through the site, and if you do meet someone, do it safely.
Clinton police did not get back to us on this story; however, they did refer us to their recently launched Internet Safe Zone initiative.
“If you tell someone to meet you at a police station for exchange property, and they agree to it, it’s a pretty good sign that it’s going to be okay,” Clinton Police Chief, Ford Hayman said.
Waibel says she had a tough time getting the ad removed from Facebook initially. She followed the steps, but couldn’t seem to get it off.
She says help from the Clinton Police Departement helped expedite that process, and now she wants to warn others, so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“I worried that people would think there was a problem with our house, and they wouldn’t be coming. I checked Craigslist, and it’s gone, but I have talked with several people who are realtors, and they tell me this is such a common problem,” Waibel said.