MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Hialeah mother is speaking out after she says she paid $14,700 in a scam involving a home she was trying to rent.

Sonia Urrutia, a single mother of five children, said she found the rental home online in May through Craigslist and thought it was legitimate, but it was not and now she said she has lost all of her savings.

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Urrutia, who is a licensed facial specialist and a tattoo artist, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It was very important for me to find a home for me and my kids.”

“I had to get out of a rental property that I was in for 9 years because it was being sold. That’s when I went to Craigslist. I was desperate to find a property because I knew I had a deadline. Going on Craigslist I found a great property and a great price. I thought it was 100 percent legitimate.”

“That person contacted me and reached out to me. I sent him my number. He wanted to have a conversation with me.”

She said he was using the name of the property owner.

“I sent him $14,700 by domestic wire transfer and the reason I gave him so much… Four months rent in advance in order to win the property because everything is so busy and so crazy. I decided to offer a little more than usual,” she said.

Urrutia said, “I did see the property. I drove by several times, but I was not allowed inside. The man who I was dealing with said the tenants living there did not want to be bothered because they were very private and I could understand that.”

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Urrutia said when she discovered the home was not for rent and when she found out she had paid the money in a scam, she was distraught.

“I was blindsided,” she said. “I have not words to say how I felt and I had to take action.”

She said she filed a report with Hialeah Police and they confirm that they are investigating.

Urrutia said she has some advice for others.

“Please, please, please do not send any money,” she said. “Meet the person in person and ask for their ID. Make sure they are who they say they are. This man put everything under the owner’s name and everything seemed to come back to the real owner. I never thought this person would have committed such a scam and used someone’s identity.”

Urrutia said out of hardship right now, she and her children have been forced to live in different homes and she hopes she can recover her money.

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CBS4 reached out to Craigslist for comment, but we have not heard back.

Peter D'Oench