BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – A College Station woman is warning others after she was scammed out of nearly $4,000. She thought she was getting a deal on renting a home but it turned into a nightmare.
Last month Cintya Aguilar found a great home on Marquis Drive in Bryan. It had everything she needed for her and her daughter.
“It was a new house, a new home, four bedroom,” Aguilar explained.
She found it for lease on Facebook at a price of only $1,100 a month.
The person she talked and texted with even had access codes so she could get inside. But after sending them thousands of dollars through Zelle and signing what she thought was a legitimate lease, her trouble started on move-in day. She later learned the legitimate property management company doesn’t list on Facebook.
“On May the 28 I believe… I’m at the front of the house and someone just stopped there and he say, ‘Can I help you?’ and I say, ‘No I’m moving’ and he says, ‘No you’re not’ and I said, ‘Yes I just rent this house.’ He said, ‘No you’re not,’” Aguilar said.
Aguilar tells us she was scammed by two people out of Houston.
“It’s not the money again it’s, they leave you without a roof so that is so hard and to see your family and have a daughter and it’s like how do you explain this? How do you say stop crying?,” she said.
Scams like these rise and can get creative when a market gets hot, Amy DuBose, with the Bryan – College Station Regional Association of Realtor says.
“They’ll throw them up on social media or they’ll throw them up on Craigslist and then they’ll market it as if it’s for rent,” said DuBose.
“Make sure that you talk with a local realtor, so a realtor can help people with the lease process as well as the buying process or selling process,” DuBose said. “And so there’s a lot of property management companies, there’s a lot of locating companies here locally that you don’t have to pay.”
Aguilar is a a journalist with Brava and wants to warn others.
“You don’t expect that it’s going to happen with a property, honestly. I mean that is like a big buy or something big and you don’t expect this to happen so just be aware,” she said.
Aguilar has contacted Bryan, College Station and Houston Police about the scam and plans to file a police report.
We also reached out to her financial institution Chase Bank about her situation and lost money. Chase sent the following response:
Thanks for bringing this our attention. Scams have been trending up during the pandemic. It’s important for consumers to remain vigilant and walk away from deals that seem too good to be true. The FTC has some tips for consumers to spot potential rental scams: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0079-rental-listing-scams
Zelle does not offer purchase protections like many credit cards do when paying for goods or services – consumers should only send money to people they know and trust.
There is some good news in this situation. Friends and the community recently came together to raise money to help her pay for a new rental place.
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