Delaware Couple Shares Story About Zillow.com User Scam - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Delaware Couple Shares Story About Zillow.com User Scam

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SMYRNA, Del. -

If you're looking for a house to rent online, be careful! A lot of dishonest people are using the Internet to take your money. One Delaware couple is telling FOX29 their story so the same thing won't happen to anyone else.

Felisa Rivera and Lloyd McGill live in Smyrna, Delaware. They both work for the Delaware Department of Corrections. The couple wanted to downsize so they started looking online for a new place to live. They found a house not too far from where they live now in Smyrna on Zillow.com. It was actually bigger, but the price was just right.

Felisa contacted Frank Jordy Webb the name on the listing, and Webb asked Felisa to wire a $2000 deposit. Lloyd and Felisa were reluctant to send the money at first since they hadn't met Frank yet, but they didn't want to lose the house. They decided to sign the lease via email and send the money, but after they sent the two thousand bucks, Frank said someone else was interested in the property. "He said that being you already have a lease, if you can give me 3 months in advance, you can keep the place. I explained to him that I don't have money like that, and I started wondering what the heck is going on," Felisa said.

What's going on a lot recently is people are using Zillow.com to pull off scams. Peter Sideris, a realtor with Century 21 in Sewell, NJ, says he's recently had 3 listings on Zillow.com taken over by someone else offering the property for less money.

Felisa and Lloyd have been trying to get their money back for months, but that's almost impossible. "FBI said they're going to look into it, but how much can they do? They don't know who the person is. By the time they go to investigate it that listing is off the Internet so they can't track ‘em," Felisa said.

This type of scam is becoming all too common lately, according to Sideris. "The economy is hard. People aren't making money so they want to gyp someone else to pay for their debt."

Experts say, if you find a fraudulent listing on Zillow, report it, but there's not much else you can do. Lance Haver, the Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs in Philadelphia, says "there's almost no recourse because the amount of money involved is relatively small, and, often, the people who are doing the scamming are doing it legally."

Felisa and Lloyd have nothing but boxes and nowhere to go.

FOX29 did reach out to Zillow, and they sent this statement: "Zillow goes to great lengths to police activity and fully inform users of the existence of scams and how to protect themselves. These listings have been removed, and the users who posted them were blocked from posting additional listings.

Zillow also detailed the precautions it takes to protect you. For a look at those, check it out here.

 

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