Jan 15, 2016 8:51 PM by Anthony Peters
It started with the decision to sell the home and post it on the website Zillow.com.
"I went on the Zillow website to update the pictures of the house that we own in gridley and that we will be selling it in June," homeowner Pam Ragan said.
A few days later Ragan received a call from her current renters, telling her people came by to rent the home.
After another day brought another couple looking to rent the home, Ragan began to investigate where the home was listed to rent.
"I went out there and they had taken pictures of our home and posted it for rent," she said.
The home was listed on a website called Trovit.com. There it was listed to rent for $500 a month with a $400 security deposit. Ragan emailed the owner posing as a potential renter.
"I contacted the owner and got this email back from a person claiming to be the owner with all the information and the contract to sign," she said.
The email which was sent by a person who goes by Ron Hynds states his family lives in Sonora, Texas and has decided to rent the home. Ragan contacted the police but due to no crime having yet been committed, they did not follow up.
"No money has exchanged hands at this point," Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said. "It certainly can be an attempt at a scam but right now it's a civil matter."
Ramsey says online scams like this are not new and for potential renters to be wary when looking for places to live.
"In the wild west of the internet and Craigslist and all of the other sites you must be savvy," Ramsey said. "The first rule is if it's too good to be true, it likely is."
Ramsey says to never wire anybody money and research the property listed to ensure you don't get taken advantage of.
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