Richmond County sheriff’s investigators are searching for a couple of Craigslist scam artists who accepted money for a rental property they did not have the authority to rent.
Police said the renter met an older white couple Sept. 23 at a house in the 2200 block of Birnam Place that had been listed for rent on Craigslist.
The female scammer unlocked the door with a key and allowed the renter to look through the house before they completed rental paperwork at the kitchen table. The renter paid $650 for the first month’s rent and a partial deposit and received a receipt.
The next day, when the renter was at the house getting utilities transferred, a real estate agent told her she had been the victim of a scam.
Investigator Dan Ferrel said the case is unusual compared with most rental scams. Craigslist rental scams, however, are not uncommon, according to authorities.
Typically, the home owner claims to be overseas and asks the potential tenant to wire the money in exchange for keys.
Investigators said the scammers could have posed as potential tenants to obtain the key.
The homeowners told investigators they had used a smaller real estate company in the past that gave out the code to a locked key box at the residence so potential clients could view the home at their leisure.
Police said that the female scammer provided a passport and retired military ID but that neither had been issued by the government. The renter took photos of the identification.
The male scammer was said to be in his late 60s to early 70s. The renter told authorities he was wearing a ball cap and sunglasses.
Anyone with information on the couple is asked to contact the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1020.