A new scam in Southern Colorado is targeting families- some of them evacuees of the Waldo Canyon fire, who are looking for a new home.
Two weeks ago, Bob Magas put his home up for sale. On Sunday, he says he was surprised to get a knock on his door from family looking for a place to rent.
"The family told me they had been corresponding with the owner for the last week and a half about renting the property. I said well since I’m the owner, I know you weren’t corresponding with me," Magas said.
It turned out his home was not only listed with his real estate company but was also on an online real estate site called Zillow. Crooks had copied the information and posted it as their own.
The family responded to the advertisement. They thought they were talking with the owner who suggested they drive by and check it out.
"They were here to look at the property. One of the messages from this fraudulent person said go by the house and look at it, if you like it send me your application and a thousand dollar deposit. I will send you the keys and documents for you to move in,” Magas said.
The family was able to walk away without losing a dime. But a second family; evacuees from the Mountain Shadows area were not as fortunate.
Magas says the second family was duped by an similar advertisement on Craigslist. The family did end up sending in a thousand dollars before learning it was all a scam.
Now, Magas says he hopes by telling his story, he'll keep dozens of others from doing the same.
"Be very diligent. Check it out before you send anybody anything," he said.
As soon as Magas found out about the scam on Zillow he called the company and they removed the ad from their site.
The Craigslist ad, however, was only removed after the crooks collected their money.
Zillow does have a warning on their site warning visitors to beware of scams because they do not screen messages sent to a user’s profile.