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Deer Park woman targeted by Nigerian scam

Author: Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter

DEER PARK, Wash. –

A Deer Park woman trying to sell her home is now the target of a Nigerian scam.

Last month, Brooke Bear put her home and 10 acres up for sale.

A few weeks later, an ad seeking a renter for her home popped up on Craigslist.

“They did their research; they had correct spelling; (they had) my middle name and made up a fake email account,” said Bear.

Bear didn’t even know the ad existed until a couple interested in renting her home showed up on her doorstep over the weekend.

“They asked if I was moving out or if I was the previous renter,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘No I’m, the owner and I’m selling my house. I’m not renting it.”

Bear said the ad, since taken down, showed a picture of her home, listed her address and asked for $1,700 to be wired through Western Union.

“So I made up a fake email account on Yahoo and e-mailed the information that said ‘I was very interested in the house and can you email me?’ and he (replied) saying how (the homeowner) was in Africa on a mission,” she said.

Bear has never been to Africa and she’s not a pastor as it states in the ad.

“It was creepy, just knowing somebody was using my name,” said Bear.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office believes the email originated from Nigeria. Deputy Craig Chamberlin, with the sheriff’s office, said consumers need to be cautious when responding to ads on Craiglist.

“In these situations, if you have people asking you to forward money for a residence where they don’t even have the keys, they tell you they have the keys in a different country, those should be raising red flags,” said Chamberlin.

“I felt very violated at first but I’m glad they are a continent away,” said Bear.

After the ad was taken down, another woman stopped by Monday interested in renting the home as well.

The woman had been emailing the scammers for a couple days about the property, even sending a picture of her family as requested.

Bear now has this message for anyone searching for a house to rent or putting a house on the market.

“Number one, if they see a house on Craigslist and it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” she said. “And also, new people listing their house (should) keep an eye on Craigslist and maybe preemptively stop people from coming to your house if you catch the ad right away.”

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March 27, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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