Winter Haven woman catches rental property scam on Craigslist

A woman from Winter Haven caught a Craigslist scammer in the act before anyone else could fall for it.

An ad on the website listed a home for rent for $700 dollars, including utilities.

"I was a little confused," April Stone, who's looking for a bigger house for her family, said. "I thought maybe it was a typo."

Loading ...

Still, she sent a message to the email listed in the ad.

Stone got a reply requesting she contact the landlord on the phone, because he's traveling for work, along with a bizarre rental application. It included requests for pet names, where the family goes to church and a picture of the family, but didn't ask for income information.

On the phone, she said the man who answered had a thick foreign accent and was pushy, asking her to send the money.

"He kept urging me to do the application," she explained.

Stone searched the house's address on Google and found it listed on Zillow, but for a much higher price of $1,400. She contacted the real owner and police. Police said her vigilance caught a scammer in the act before anyone else could fall for it.

The owner of the property, Catherine Frank, is actually trying to rent the house.

"I did put up a Craigslist ad with the real price," she said.

She's gotten several calls from people who realized it was a scam, and she's glad none of them paid the man.

As for Stone, she likes the house, but the $1,400 rent is out of her price range.

"We will not be moving into that house," she said with a laugh.