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Housing scammers target St. Charles County homes

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Scammers are pretending they can rent other people’s houses in St. Charles County. The bad guys are out of town and won’t show their faces. They’re finding homes for sale or rent and trying to trick people to pay deposits.

One woman said she answered a posting for a good deal on a rental home. But she said there was one big problem.

“They were never actually going to be able to come and meet me,” she said.

The woman answered a Craigslist ad for a house on Redwood and another on Concordia.

“It was a three bedroom, I believe. Around $800. And usually, 3 and 4 bedrooms in St. Charles run close to $1,200 or $1,300 a month.”

Too good to be true? Yes. Because Michelle Coryell lives there.

Coryell said she was moving out and her home was for not, but not for the too good to be true asking price:

$600 / 3br - 1056ft2 - &&&3 BEDROOM 2 BATH&&&MOVE IN SPECIAL!!&&& (Saint Charles, MO)

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah if we were paying that we would probably stay here the rest of our lives,” she said.

The same scammer tried to collect on a home that Dan Fresenburg was selling. Fresenburg found out about the scam when a possible victim showed up.

“…from what I understand is they’re trying to get first and last month’s rent out of the people and then when the people show up, they have no house,” he said.

The scammer has been lifting pictures from real listings and making them his own on Craigslist. He sends out an official looking ‘tenant application form’ and even tried explaining the ‘For Sale’ sign in front of Fresenburg’s home, writing, “…any realtor signpost will be removed once I (sic) get any responsible tenant so you ignore the signpost…”

Fox 2 News tried calling and texting the scammer’s number and got no response.

Fresenburg said hopes law enforcement will step in.

“I would like to see something happen to at least slow people down, but are they even in the country? That’s the scary part,” he said.

Meanwhile, let this be a lesson – don’t make any deals with someone without meeting them in person.