Fairfield Couple Says They Fell for Vacation Rental Scam in Tahoe

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- It looked like the ideal place to spend Thanksgiving: a four bedroom home with a hot tub, steps away from Lake Tahoe.

Bob Busser and his wife were excited to spend four nights in a South Lake Tahoe rental, but when they pulled up Tuesday night.

"There's nobody there, we called the number," said Busser.

It didn't take long for them to realize they had been scammed.

With his lease agreement in hand, Busser told FOX40 he believes the people he rented from on Craigslist created a bogus ad, collected $1,200 and left him high and dry before the holiday.

"They do not own the house, it's a complete scam, they will not return emails, the phone number is bogus," said Busser.

FOX40 also tried calling the supposed Craigslist renters, but no one answered.

We also showed up to the home on Paloma way.

No one answered the door and the house looked empty, but FOX40 noticed a plaque out front for Turnkey Vacation Rentals.

So we gave them a call.

The company wouldn't say if the house had been rented.

Instead they directed FOX40 to their website.

We found an ad for the same home the Bussers had rented.

It had the same wording and the same pictures as the listing on Craigslist.

"It really puts a damper on the whole thing that people would actually do something like this," said Busser.

The couple is left feeling used and frustrated.

"This is the first time I've ever been scammed, and it leaves a real bad taste in your mouth," said Busser.

While it was the first time for the Bussers, South Lake Tahoe police tell FOX40 this kind of scam is not uncommon, and that it's usually committed by people outside the area.

That makes it extremely difficult to catch scam artists who operate online.

"People like this need to go to jail for a long, long, long time," said Busser.

The credit card company refunded Busser's money, but he's still upset that whoever put him in this situation hasn't been punished.

"I will not stop until this idiot is caught," said Busser.