Beware of rental house scam in Lake area

Beware of rental house scam in Lake area

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A local woman and her family recently moved into a house they found for rent. A few weeks go by and they find out the house is owned by someone entirely.

Briona Narcisse paid more than a thousand dollars to get into a house on Louisiana Avenue.

After several weeks of living here, she was stunned to find out she had paid rent to a scammer who had no authority to lease the house.

The rip-off was discovered when the true property manager, Brittney Grundy, came to show the house only to discover someone was living there.

“She’s at home, she’s settled in, she’s got a great house and has family coming over to look at it and she gave this man over $1000,” said Grundy. “So, that was all the money she had so when it came time for her to have to move out of the home, because she did not have permission to be there, she didn’t have money to go anywhere else.” Grundy says the criminal had devised a way to get the lock box code to furnish Narcisse with a key.

Grundy points out, you give a driver’s license to show your ID. You then answer a few questions and confirm that you’re going to be there and then the lock box code is distributed to you. The asking price for the house is $1200 a month, no bills paid versus the scammer’s offer of $750 a month, all utilities paid. It’s an offer too good to be true.

“If you find something that is way off from what you’ve been seeing, that’s a red flag. If someone wants to email you an application but does not want to speak to you, and if the application does not seem like something they could use to find you if you do not pay your bills, that’s a red flag,” states Grundy. “If they only want to reach you through text messaging and never want to have a face to face, that is a major red flag.” She also advises to never use a cash app to pay.

The property is too expensive for Briona’s budget, so she and her family have to move. Briona has found a new place and is getting ready to move.

The heartbreaking rip-off has been reported to the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Department, though the scammer may be overseas and beyond the reach of law enforcement.

The BBB has loads of tips for avoiding becoming a victim of such scams. Links are below:

Copyright 2020 KPLC. All rights reserved.