PEI

Couple warns of scam after learning their house was advertised for rent

A Charlottetown couple say they were surprised with a sudden interest in people wanting to rent their home — because it’s not for rent

Woman arrived with belongings expecting to move in

Bryan and Kim Burt say they only found out about the scam because the daughter of the man who delivers their oil was interested in renting their home. (Shane Ross/CBC)

A Charlottetown couple say they were surprised with a sudden interest in people wanting to rent their home — because it's not for rent.

Bryan and Kim Burt said one woman even showed up with her belongings expecting to move in before realizing she was the victim of a scam.

Unbeknownst to the Burts, someone going by the names Sabrina and John had advertised the couple's three-bedroom home on the website Craigslist asking $1,200 a month, including utilities, and a $1,000 deposit.

The Burts do not live in the home, which is located on Enman Crescent. It is up for sale, and the scammers used the sale listing photos in their own ad.

The Burts contacted Craigslist and had the ad removed.

"It's happening and you have no clue it's happening unless you're Google-searching your property for some reason," Bryan Burt said. 

The Craigslist ad used information from the home's sale listing. (Submitted by Bryan Burt)

The Burts only found out about the scam when the man who delivers their heating oil noticed the property was for sale. As it turns out, his daughter was looking for a place to rent and looked into the property but thought the price was "too good to be true."

The man recognized the property because he had just delivered oil there. He then called the Burts, who confirmed the property was not for rent. The Burts then called Charlottetown police.

Victim out money

Burt said it was just a lucky coincidence they discovered the scam.

"If it wasn't P.E.I., we wouldn't even know," he said.

However, it was too late for another woman. She showed up Friday, about two weeks after the Craigslist ad was removed, expecting to move in and unpack only to find the home locked with a "For Sale" sign in the front yard.

The woman called the couple's real estate agent, whose number was on the "For Sale" sign.

"This lady contacted her to find out what was going on because she had sent money to whoever these Sabrina and John people are," Burt said.

"I had no idea this happens."

Scam not new, police say

Sgt. Dean Field of the Charlottetown police said an investigation is underway. He said this type of scam is not new on P.E.I.

Burt said he is sharing the story because he doesn't want others to get scammed.

"Don't send someone money without seeing them in person. If they can't show you pictures of the inside or meet to see the inside, it's definitely too good to be true."

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