Jacksonville family looking for new place to live out nearly $2,000

Looking back, Jamille Carter says she should have seen the red flags

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Moving is stressful enough, so to find out the new home you shelled out big bucks for was actually a scam might make you never want to move again. 

That's what Jamille Carter said happened to her family. 

"She said all of the electric was included, and washer, dryer, the whole nine yards," Carter said. 

Carter said she found a listing for a rental home on Craigslist and went as far as to see the house in person and check everything out. 

"It was move-in ready,” Carter said. "As she stated in the email, it said move-in ready."

Taking it a step further, Carter said she looked up the home’s property records, which are public record. 
The home's former owner and the name of the person she was corresponding with matched up. 

“So we weren’t blindsided going in. We made sure. Well, we tried to make (sure) everything was legit before handing over the money,” Carter said.

In total, Carter said, she shelled out nearly $2,000 with no keys or response from the owner. 

Carter decided to visit the prospective home again and, that time, a man answered the door.

"He said, 'I’m sorry. Nobody lives here by that name,'" Carter said. "I was just stuck, like, 'Uh, OK.' At that point, I knew it was a scam." 

Carter said she and the alleged homeowner corresponded for three months before any money was sent. Now, looking back, she said she should have seen the red flags. 

"I did my research, but in the back of my mind, I was saying to myself, 'I hope this is not a joke or anything,'" Carter said.

What were major red flags we can now look at to realize this was always a hoax.

The first is Carter never actually met the owner in person. That is the biggest sign to watch out for if you ever have to give someone money. 

Then, taking a look at the emails, a lot of the sentences didn't make sense. 

"The agents inflate the price and it take longer to sell so I don’t deal with them anymore," reads one of the sentences that News4Jax picked directly from one of the correspondences. 

The final red flag was when it was time to pay up. 

“She had me go through her 'assistant' to make the security deposit because she said she was out of town. I went ahead and made that payment, it was through an app called Venmo,” Carter said.

Venmo, however, is an app that allows people to send money through their phone from anywhere around the world. No assistant was needed. 

The second time Carter made a deposit, she said, the alleged homeowner gave her a bank account number that she said was her "husband's." Carter said she was instructed to only use cash or a cashier's check. 

"Anytime you think that this could be a scam or whatever, it may possibly be,” Carter warned.

Unfortunately, because Carter used Venmo and cash, she said both her bank and Venmo told her there is nothing they can do to retrieve the nearly $2,000 she lost.

It's something she said she won't do again.

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