Lynchburg Couple Hit by Rental Scam
Reporter: Jeremy Mills | Videographer: Daniel Heffner
Campbell Co., VA - A Lynchburg couple says they can tell you exactly what it's like to be ripped off by scammers. They say it happened while trying to rent a home from an ad they found on Craigslist.
That ad had been copied from a legitimate rental website. The person who reposted it, broke into the house to let them in and told them to change the locks.
Then, the scammer took their money and disappeared.
The victims say they not only lost $1,000, they also moved into the home, only to find out two days later they had to get out.
Now, they're speaking out to help protect others.
Richard and Faith Shive thought they had found their first home together. They even thought they were helping out the homeowners.
"Supposedly, they were missionaries that were going overseas to serve for about five years, that was their story," said Richard Shive.
"They just made it sound believable so I mean I didn't suspect anything," said Faith Shive.
But two days into their new life, the recent Liberty University graduates got the shock of their lives.
"She says the sheriff's Office is over at the house. We've been scammed. We need to move out," recalls Richard Shive.
The Shives say they were tricked by a rental posting they found on Craigslist.
"This thing happens all the time but it's just starting to get worse and worse," said Brian Davis, owner of The Rental Group.
Davis's company is the one actually renting the home.
"You'll probably see 25% to 35% of the advertisements are scams. It's a big problem," said Davis.
There is a way to check if the ad has been reposted.
"Type in the full address in Google and nine times out of 10, that will pop up and populate a property management company that is truly marketing that home," said Davis.
The Shives say they'll never again rent through emails, they'll only meet in person. They also will never wire their first payment.
"If anything on Craigslist involves Western Union, whether or not you know that it is a scam or not, don't trust it, it's a scam," said Richard Shive.
The Rental Group has found the Shives another home to live, so they say they're now doing great.
Campbell County investigators are looking into the case. The Shives don't think the scammers will ever be caught.