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Scam targets Rexburg homeowner

Scam targets Rexburg homeowner

REXBURG, Idaho - A new scam is targeting a homeowner in Rexburg and now police are investigating. Police said the homeowner found a couple in his home unpacking, but the couple said the home was listed for rent on Craigslist. Real estate agent, Ted Whyte, said the home isn't for rent it is for sale.

The Craigslist post now states, "this is a scam," but on Wednesday it looked completely different. The previous post asked for $650 in rent and a $650 deposit.  It also said to contact Reverend Scott James in Africa with an international phone number.

"Luckily the homeowner drove past the home Friday morning and saw a light on. He opened the garage door and saw somebody in the garage with a pickup truck unloading stuff and said he rented the property," Whyte said.    

Whyte is the real estate broker for the listing on Ash Avenue. He said the man and woman who moved in had stayed in the house for one night.

"It was a legitimate listing and home for sale and it was a scam. He was allowing people access to the property," he said. 

Whyte said they had access to the house with a key and he is not sure how they got it.

"The people who had actually felt like they had rented the home there are still questions we want to answer as to how entry was obtained into the home," said Detective David Stubbs.

Stubbs said this is the first time he has seen a scam like this in Rexburg.

"Home rental scams have been going on in other parts of the country and once these are discovered they will move onto something else."

Police said be careful of international numbers and of listings where you can't meet the homeowner in person.

The locks were changed on the house early Friday. The homeowner is in his 80's and recently moved to Sugar City.

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