Family of 5 facing homelessness after being scammed by fake real estate agent online
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Kiki Walshaw and her family moved into this home on NE 17th avenue in Gainesville after taking a tour with a real estate agent they met on Facebook marketplace who called himself Robert Woods. Now, they are facing homelessness after finding out the home they’re staying in belongs to someone else.
Vincent Hampton, who is the property manager, went to check on the house and called Gainesville police when he realized unauthorized people were occupying the home. To his surprise, Walshaw and her family moved into the home under a fake real estate agent.
“I’ve heard of people getting scammed out of the first month’s rent or security deposit,” said Hampton. “I’ve actually texted the scammer a few times to try to set up another met up so we could try to catch him but he’s skirted that and he’s giving me locations of a few bitcoin ATMs so he’s still trying to scam people.”
Walshaw, who has Parkinson’s disease and takes care of her brother with dementia, wanted to rent a bigger home for her family.
“We were living in lake city and we decided to move back into the big city because lake city is so small and I don’t know I wanted to be closer to my doctors and things like that, I have a few doctors there,” said Walshaw.
According to Hampton, the scammer broke in, changed the locks, gave the family a tour, provided them with a fake lease, and collected $2,100 in move-in fees.
Walshaw was originally interested in a home on NW 17th street but when they arrived to take a tour of the home, they found that another family had already moved in.”
“They’re in the same position we’re in. We actually drove by here one day and we saw them and it’s really sad that it’s happening to people. The actual owner said she’s giving us a little bit of time while another agency is trying to help us as well, otherwise, we are going to be homeless.”
The family plans to report the scam to Gainesville police. In the meantime, Hampton reported the incident to the police and set up a gofundme to help the family.
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