Deputies: Beware of Fake Landlords

SACRAMENTO-

Krishanna Baker was all set to move herself and her kids into a new place, before the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department told her she’d fallen victim to a scam.

“It’s a wonderful place. The house is a wonderful place,” Baker told FOX40. “[It has] enough room for me and all my children. It’s wonderful.”

Baker found the home on Craigslist last week. The supposed landlord met her there, gave her a tour and even had her sign a rental agreement. She gave the man two money orders, $1,800 for the deposit and first month’s rent, and she was given her keys.

Then, Sheriff’s deputies arrived to say she had to leave.

“I let them know how I came about the place and they just started, like, looking at each other like, ‘Oh, Craigslist again,'” Baker said.

Apparently, this sort of thing is common.

“Once [the homes] are vacant and they see that it’s been standing vacant for a week or two, what they’ll do is that they’ll break in, they’ll change the locks, make up a fictitious rental agreement,” Sheriff’s Sergeant Gary Shintaku said.

Investigators say the fake landlord used a fake phone number and a variation of the previous owner’s name. Deputies urge prospective tenants to ask specific questions when looking for a place.

Are you the owner of the property? How long have you owned the property? What’s the square footage of the property? how big is the lot size of this property?

“Those are things that the owner knows,” Sgt. Shintaku said.

Baker says she now knows to ask those questions but what she doesn’t know is where she and her kids are going to go.

“The homeowner is protected. They get their home back. What about me?” Baker said. “What about my children? Like, just go on the streets?”

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