It’s always nice to return home after a long vacation. But not so much if you come home and find a family of strangers living in your house.
That was what happened to 75-year-old Katherine Lang of Beaufort, South Carolina.
According to Yahoo, After a 10-day vacation in California, Lang was eager to relax and unwind as soon as she got home … but instead, she discovered that there was a strange couple cooking dinner inside her house like they owned the joint.
The strangers’ pets were also running around Lang’s home!
Lang told The Beaufort Gazette she confronted the couple, demanding, “What are you doing in my house?”
The couple of apparent squatters was equally confounded by the sight of a strange woman appearing before them as they were preparing a meal.
That’s because they didn’t think they were doing anything illegal. You see, the pair had “rented” Lang’s home … or so they thought.
Lang quickly pieced together what had happened. She’d been in the process of trying to sell her home and scammers had apparently used the opportunity to make a quick buck from the unsuspecting couple standing before her. It turned out, they were all victims in this situation!
The people staying in Lang’s home were 22-year-old Tyggra Shepherd and her husband. Shepherd was in the process of moving to South Carolina from Kentucky and she needed a place to stay as soon as possible. When she saw the rental listing on a Beaufort Facebook group, she eagerly seized the opportunity. The place was $850 a month, and Shepherd knew that was a great deal.
“Finding a place to live in Beaufort is hard when you need something you can afford and still raise a family adequately,” Shepherd told The Beaufort Gazette. So she wired the scammers $1,150 based on the phony lease she received, and she was told that the keys to her new place would arrive in the mail.
When the keys didn’t arrive, the scammer explained it was because there was a problem with the delivery, but that the back door to the home was open and that Shepherd and her husband could just walk right in … which they did. The couple was thrilled with their new place until Lang came home from vacation and startled them.
This is not the first time that a scam like this has happened. Criminals use attractive house listings in order to trick desperate renters-to-be into wiring them money. In return, they send a phony lease and the promise of keys. By the time the renters find out it’s all a scam, the criminal is long gone with their money.
This is why experts urge renters to never give money to anyone they haven’t met, or for a property they haven’t actually seen in person. And, always insist on paying by personal check rather than wiring the money, as checks can be canceled.
As for homeowners, if you are listing your home for rent or for sale, and you are concerned that scammers could take advantage of you, you can hang a sign in your window that states the real price of your home, your real phone number and anywhere your home is authentically listed by you.
You can also post an advertisement on Craigslist with pictures, as this may prevent scammers from being able to use your photos and post a fake ad for a different price. If you find a phony listing using your home address or photos of your home, contact the police or your local district attorney’s office.