Cragislist rental scam takes family's savings

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Craigslist rental listing was a scam

SURPRISE - A family of nine thought they had found the perfect home, moved in and started to make improvements when they found out they had been ripped off.

It is a rental scam you need to know about before you are taken too. The Reeves Family just moved to the Valley and thought they had found their dream home. Never did they expect the whole ordeal could leave them homeless.

The Reeves found the home listed for rent on Craigslist. It sounded like a bargain and a dream come true for this family of nine who was new to the area looking for a home.

Painters were working inside but the carpets, flooring and cabinets needed to be cleaned and the locks replaced. The Reeves were willing to do all that work themselves for a discount on the deposit.

They met who they thought were the owners and Matthew Reeves, the father, tells 3TV, "We signed the lease, got a receipt for the money$1,500."

Then they went home to get the family and celebrate. That was on Thursday. On Friday the family started cleaning and Saturday showed up to move in but someone else was already inside.

Pam Dambley tells 3TV, "I said, 'Excuse me, you live here?' And he says, 'We just rented it,' and I said, 'From who?'

It turned out Dambley was the real homeowner, not the Jim and Jaime Williams the Reeves met and paid.

Matthew says, "My wife and I both cried. It was what we wanted."< /p>

The reason why they gave every penny they had to making the home a reality.

The Dambley's, caught in the middle, could not believe it, so rather than kick out the Reeves Dambley says they gave them August for free because they spent all their money and they got to her heart.

The Reeves call Pam their angel and while they hope police catch the couple who ripped them off, Matthew says, "The main thing is to make sure this doesn't happen to another family."

Right now Peoria police are investigating but need your help. The suspects are described as a short heavyset woman and a man with crooked teeth and a heart tattooed on one hand. They were last seen driving a white Chevy Blazer.

Police say the best advice to avoid being ripped off is to do a little background check of your own before you rent and check with the County Assessors Office to see who in fact is the actual owner of the home.

Also remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is!