MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — An ad on Craigslist to rent out a home in the Poconos for half price seemed too good to be true. And it was.
The property owner in Monroe County says he filed a report with police saying he was part of an internet scam.
Potential renters thought a three-bedroom home in the Poconos advertised on Craigslist – an online classified ad site — for $600 a month sounded too good to be true.
But dozens stopped to check it out anyway, running into the real owner, and a big scam.
It sounds too good to be true: rent three-bedrooms, two-baths all utilities included for $600 a month in Winona Lakes near Marshalls Creek.
The owner of this house says he actually is looking to rent it, but that offer is a scam.
“It seems that someone stole the rental information from my real estate agent, and posted the house on Craigslist for half the price,” said John DeLeon.
DeLeon listed his house for rent, and earlier this week he found out about all of this, someone impersonating him on Craigslist, asking interested renters for not just their name and address, but personal information like number of kids, pets, if they work nights, a family photo, and how they would like to pay the deposit and rent.
“Aside from perpetrating a crime against me, he’s trying to rob people, people who really don’t have that kind of money,” said DeLeon.
The ad was up on Craigslist for a few days and the owner of the property says while he was there doing some work, at least five different groups of people stopped by to take a look.
Across the street, neighbors say they’ve had at least 15 people stop by asking questions about the house.
“It’s been crazy. We’ve had people showing up at our door starting from early in the morning and ending at like 10 o’clock at night,” said neighbor Linda Homza.
Now, DeLeon says he’s filed a report with state police, the district attorney’s office in Monroe County, and is trying to track down his impersonator to protect himself and others from this Craigslist scam.
“Anything could happen. People are naïve, they’re gullible. Smarten up. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said DeLeon.
The ad has since been removed from Craigslist. Deleon’s property in Winona Lakes isn’t the first in this area to get caught up in a Craigslist scam.
The housing association told us another one of their homes was listed as part of a phony rental scam less than two months ago.