Sapulpa Home Renting Scam Hits Pocketbooks Of Unsuspecting Victims
SAPULPA, Oklahoma - Three people are out thousands of dollars after a rental scam in Sapulpa.
All three people share the same exact stories.
They thought they were paying a deposit and first month's rent for a house, but the person they paid doesn't even own the home or live in Oklahoma.
"I'm a veteran, and I'm really violated,” said Larry Jensen.
Jensen wanted to save money on rent, so he went to craigslist to look for a new home.
"This guy, he's just preying on people who really want to get in on something cheap and reasonable," said Jensen.
He found one in Sapulpa listed for $550 a month.
The scammer tells would-be-renters he’s fed up with his realtor and just wants to get the property rented since he lives in Texas.
Larry paid $1,100 in cash at a Walmart store through Walmart to Walmart.
It's the same story for a single mom in Kellyville and a woman in Spavinaw, both shelling out $1,400 for the same home.
"Anytime that you're not walking into an office or you're meeting these people face to face at the property, those are the types of red flags that go up," said Financial Crimes Detective Cpl. Matt Rose.
Tulsa police said they get about 5 cases like this every month.
"They'll undercut the market or the area on the cheapest house to rent, or something like that, so you'll take the bait," said Rose.
Officers said reeling in the scammer, especially out of state, isn't likely.
"I would still like to see him prosecuted. Because he's doing wrong to a lot of people," said Jensen.
The scammer ripped the address and pictures of the home from the listing on Zillow from the real homeowner trying to sell the property.
Police said arresting the scammer is unlikely because usually, the person seen on surveillance getting their money isn't the same person who the victims have been talking to, so it's hard to prove.