TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler realtor Carolyn Maas said her property was hijacked by someone on Craigslist looking to make some extra money at East Texans' expense.
"As realtors, we always put our properties on Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow, and a lot of different online sites and that exposes it to a lot of people hopefully to get a buyer in for the property, but then it also sets it up for somebody going in and grabbing it," Maas said.
And that is exactly what happened to Maas.
"They go in and take pictures and get information and then add more information to it and it is not even accurate; it's just, it's wrong," she said.
The person posing as the homeowner listed the property at $645 a month and seemed to have an answer for every inquiry.
"They send a letter back saying that they have this house for lease and they are out of state and they cannot be there to show you the house and just send them money and they will send you the keys," Mass explained after someone forwarded her the letter they received from this phony homeowner.
The Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas said unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened.
The big red flag? When the so called homeowner is inaccessible. For example, they said they have had people who have claimed to be missionaries who are out of the country and unable to show the home. In this particular scenario, the supposed homeowner claimed to be in the air force and therefore really hard to reach.
Mechele Mills is the President/CEO at Central East Texas BBB and said, "you don't want to put a deposit down on any place unless you have walked inside of it and had a good look at the house and inspected it yourself."
However, since this fake homeowner did not have the keys, they just invited those interested in the property to take a look around from outside.
As for the sign in the front yard? They had an answer for that too. They said they were tired of their agent and looking to work around her.
"They try to cover all of their bases," Mass said.
And the worst part of all of this?
"Because this is all done online these people are very had to track and because they want everything wired to them, once the money is wired to them it's pretty much gone, but if we catch it quickly sometimes we can get it reversed, but for the most part you can kiss that money goodbye," Mills said.