NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – There’s a new twist to the old scam where con artists bilk people who are looking for a home to rent.
They are now posing as well known businesses to rip off their victims.
Just ask Jenny Marroquin. She thought she would be moving into her new place with her five-year-old daughter, Angie, who is deaf. She said Angie was very excited about the move.
“She would come home every day from school saying when are we going to go to our new house,” said Marroquin.
Marroquin found the one bedroom apartment listed on a popular website. Someone posing as the owner said she was out of town but Marroquin could have the unit, she just needed to come up with $1,600 for a security deposit and the first month’s rent. The person told Marroquin the entire transaction would be handled through Airbnb.
“Because she said it was through Airbnb, I was thinking you know that’s a legitimate agency,” said Marroquin.
She followed the specific payment instructions and sent the money on a prepaid Visa card.
Turns out the whole thing was a sham. The pictures of the apartment were fake and so were the emails that appeared to come from Airbnb.
The FBI said they’ve seen cases like this, where thieves use real companies to fool victims, explode nationwide.
“This person not only messed with my money but they also messed with the time that I can give to my daughter,” said Marroquin.
Her story did have a happy ending. A friend started an online fundraising page for her which raised enough money for Marroquin and her daughter to find a new home.