Marquette County man loses nearly $ 1,000 in real estate scam

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – A man in Marquette County says he lost nearly $ 1,000 in a real estate scam.

Kevin Teehan and his roommate found a Craigslist ad for a house on West Crescent Street in Marquette. Needing new housing by the end of the month, Teehan says they jumped at the chance to rent the property.

“I filled out the rental application and sent it back to him,” Teehan said. “The next day he said we were approved for the house and then we started making arrangements to send the deposit money so he could send me the keys.”

It was then that he said the situation got worse.

“When the guy started delaying sending the key tracking number he was supposed to send me after I sent him that $ 980 for the security deposit, I started to think that something was wrong. ‘wasn’t going,’ Teehan said.

By then it was too late. Teehan eventually received a fake tracking number. He saw the “for sale” sign outside the house and contacted the real estate agent. He discovered that the scammer did not own the property and, according to the real estate agent’s office, he was not the only person who attempted to rent it out.

“I know of two who did send money and unfortunately said they were pressed for time to find a new property,” said Erick Brooks, assistant to RE / MAX real estate agent Breck Tonella . “Once we found out it was on Craigslist, we posted the ad and I put signs on the house saying, ‘This house is not for rent. This is a scam on Craigslist. ‘”

Teehan says a detective from the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the scam. However, he does not plan to recover the $ 980.

“The guy who runs the scam is based in Atlanta,” Teehan said. “The money went to North Carolina so I doubt I’ll get the money back. I’m just going to take it as a loss.

Now Teehan says he just wants to prevent the same from happening to others looking for a place to live.

“Don’t send anyone money, not even a dime, especially if you haven’t met them,” he said. “We thought it was a good deal, but I would never send anyone money again. Never.”

A GoFundMe was set up for Teehan and his roommate. He says he doesn’t expect donations, but he appreciates everyone who chooses to give.

Brooks says if you see an ad for a property and are unsure, contact a RE / MAX agent to verify.

Police in the town of Marquette released some advice to avoid losing money to a rental scam. Police say to visit the properties in person. If you don’t live nearby they suggest asking someone you trust to visit you instead.

Police also advise tenants and buyers not to pay with cash or wire transfers and to be careful of confidential information. If possible, officials say to rent from a reliable property management company rather than an online listing.

Copyright 2021 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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