A couple in Fort Worth was scammed by purchasing a phony home and then threatened by a second scammer, they say, reported WFAA.
Trevontee Garner and Daija Washington found a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home which they figured would be perfect for their family of four.
Soon after finding the home online and expressing interest, they received a call from the supposed homeowner about the property.
“It was beautiful. It was a pretty nice. It had a decent size backyard and a shed too. It was perfect,” Garner said.
But the price of the home was literally too good to be true. It was later revealed that the person claiming to be the homeowner actually was not.
Scammers often lure people in with homes that they do not actually own. They do things like providing access codes to the door, only accepting payment on cash apps, and conducting all their business electronically. They never show up to give a tour of the home they supposedly own.
Cliff Freeman of the Cliff Freeman Group, a real estate company, told WFAA that scammers often tap into potential renters needing to find a home at an affordable price.
Renters like these are “looking under any rock for any potential house they can rent and when they do their awareness level goes down,” Freeman said.
The home the couple “purchased” actually belongs to the company Progress Residential, which released this statement to WFAA:
“We can confirm the perpetrators of this scam have no affiliation with Progress Residential. We have a dedicated team at Progress Residential focused on investigating reports of fraudulent activity or potential scams and coordinating with law enforcement. We are working closely with the victim and her family to offer options and solutions. While we cannot comment on ongoing investigations, we are making every effort to support victims of rental fraud by providing an opportunity to directly work with Progress staff to apply for and rent the home they want.”
After losing $5,400 to the phony deal, another scammer left a note inside the home to add insult to injury and then began sending threats to the family, including their children.
“The cops can’t stop me cause I’m a special assassin,” read one of the texts, Washington said. After Washington responded that he would contact the authorities, he received another text threatening their children.
“First I’m getting put out of a home and now I’m getting threatened of my life. What else could possibly happen?” Washington said.
It is not clear what, if any, connection there is between the first scammer and the second scammer. Fort Worth Police called the incident part of an ongoing investigation.
Freeman advised that people should never pay realtors with cash apps and always deal with licensed realtors to avoid scams.