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La Pine couple latest victims of ‘house for rent’ scam

(Update: adding video, homeowner, relocation service business comments)

It's not the first time a scam like this has happened -- and likely not the last

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Kevin and Jennifer Hagan of La Pine were enjoying their Oregon coast vacation -- until they were told their home had been listed on Craigslist for rent.

"Charming one bed, one bath," the listing read, with a rental rate of $1,600 a month.

"When you see your house and your living room online for rent, it doesn’t sit well with me,” Hagan told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday.

The Craigslist listing, which has since been removed, was posted for 16 days before Hagan and other community members got it removed. In that time, at least one person reached out to Hagan to inquire about the property.

Hagan isn't sure how many people responded to the listing, but he would not be surprised if that number was higher than just one.

"There isn’t really a place to rent in La Pine," Hagan said. "For someone to put this up, even a one-bed and one-bath. it would rent pretty quick.”  

This is not the first time NewsChannel 21 has reported on a housing scam. In 2018, a family from England thought they had rented a home in Bend, which turned out to be a scam.

Melissa Gottileb of Bend Relocation Services told NewsChannel 21 the "house for rent" scam is nothing new, and probably will not be going away any time soon.

“I see them daily," Gottileb said. “I think it’s really important for people to not be so eager to give out deposits or email their information and give money, because once you send it out and give it to them, you cannot get it back.”

Gottileb said there are a few things you can do to double-check if the listing is legit: You can compare listing prices ,and if the price is too low, it's probably too good to be true. You can check if the property management company or the person behind the listing is listed with the Better Business Bureau. And avoid listings that are email-only communication.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. I really wouldn’t trust Craig’s List for apartment/rental hunting. Actually, I don’t think I trust Craig’s List for anything that I place value on.

      1. I never had problems using Craigslist either, but over the years “being wise about it” evolved into not using it at all. It’s burdensome trying to shoot straight in a swirl of junk and charlatans where people you contact are either disingenuous, or worried you may be.

  2. It might help to reduce these scams if websites such as Redfin, Trulia and Zillow did not keep available online the pictures and descriptions of homes listed for sale after they have sold. This would make it more difficult for people to use this information for the scam. The description of this property is word for word off of Redfin’s website and the pictures can be found there also. These websites should be held financially responsible, if not; the realtor unless they are not able to legally remove the information from those websites.

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