3 On Your Side

Consumer Alert: Rent scam dupes Mesa woman

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Tyesha Brown thought she scored a deal on a new place to rent. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Tyesha Brown thought she scored a deal on a new place to rent. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Brown agreed to deposit more than $1,350 in cash into a guy's Wells Fargo bank account as a security deposit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Brown agreed to deposit more than $1,350 in cash into a guy's Wells Fargo bank account as a security deposit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The scammer in this case likely searched the internet looking for a vacant home that was for sale, just like the one Brown looked at renting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The scammer in this case likely searched the internet looking for a vacant home that was for sale, just like the one Brown looked at renting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
3 On Your Side got a hold of Wells Fargo to see what, if anything, it can do regarding this fraudulent deposit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) 3 On Your Side got a hold of Wells Fargo to see what, if anything, it can do regarding this fraudulent deposit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Tyesha Brown and her family are pretty stressed out. After living in their townhome for years, their landlord just told them he wants to sell, which means they have to move.

"With that being said, I just started on the hunt to find me another place," Brown said.

Brown started the process of packing up and she also began searching on the internet for a place to rent.

And, it wasn't long before she got a response from a guy who reportedly lived out of state and claimed to have this house for sale in Chandler.

[RELATED: Don't fall for rental ripoff]

However, he recently changed his mind about selling and wanted to rent it to Brown instead.

As you can imagine, Brown was pretty excited. The house on the outside was perfect, so she decided to call who she thought was the owner.

Turns out, the guy she was communicating with wasn't the homeowner at all, but a scammer setting Brown up to be duped.

For starters, when he told Brown his full name, she went to public records on the internet and discovered that it was the same name on the property deed, which put Brown at ease.

Anticipating her move soon, she continued her packing and she also continued her communication with the so-called homeowner, who she said seemed very personable.

“And, it was just like that little personal touch here and there that just made everything was just good," Brown said.

After reviewing the lease agreement and other documents, Brown agreed to deposit more than $1,350 in cash into the guy's Wells Fargo bank account as a security deposit.

[RELATED: 3OYS: Beware of home rental scams]

But instead of getting keys to her new rental house in the mail as discussed, she got another email demanding more money, this time for two month's rent.

That's when Brown realized she had been scammed.

"So, at that point, my mind just went blank. I knew at that point I was pretty much done," Brown said.

The scammer in this case likely searched the internet looking for a vacant home that was for sale, just like the one Brown looked at renting.

The scammer then copied pictures from the internet real estate listing and posted them on other sites claiming to be renting the home out.

It's a scam that's been around for years, and not only lured in Brown but countless other victims.

"You know, it's just completely depressing. It's completely depressing because I know other people have gone through this and at this point, it makes no sense. It makes no sense whatsoever," Brown said.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Wells Fargo to see what, if anything, it can do regarding this fraudulent deposit.

We’re hoping the money might be returned. But, if not, we’re asking Wells Fargo to shut down the scammer’s bank account.

Watch for a follow-up news report soon.

In the meantime, to avoid rental scams, make sure to always meet the homeowner or property management company at the location you wish to rent.

Also, never look at the home from just the outside. Take a tour of the inside and inspect it. Never agree to have the keys mailed to you. The keys should immediately be handed over to you once you handed over you security deposit and signed a lease agreement.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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