'Surprise! I rented your home. Get out, please'
SANDY, UT —
(KUTV) James and Carolyn Bird are heading to a warmer climate. They’re moving from Sandy to Saint George.
Their home is for sale not for rent, so imagine their surprise when they came home to find a pair of renters standing on their front lawn.
Stranger still, the couple wasn't empty handed; they had a lease agreement for the Bird's home. The landlord is none other than James Bird according to the contract.
Bird searched the internet and quickly found that his home is being used in a scam. There are multiple rental listings each with pictures seemingly stolen from his legitimate real estate listing.
"I felt violated," James Bird said.
Get Gephardt tried to reach the scammer through one of those bogus listings. He or she would never answer the phone but, by text message, we were assured this is not a scam.
From an "801" number the scammer wrote, "Before I accept any deposit from you I will be emailing you a contract."
When prodded from more, he or she wrote, "I understand. I will email you my business ID. That is more than an assurance for you guys."
The scammer eventually stopped responding.
Get Gephardt has reported before on people who have fallen for this scam. Victims will wire away first and last month's rent only to realize later that they actually sent their money to a crook.
As for THE REAL James Bird, he says he hopes spreading the word prevents others from falling victim.
"It's a pretty elaborate scam, I think," he said.
Catching these con-men is next to impossible. Even though they disguise their numbers to appear as though they are coming from inside the US, most operate overseas in countries where local and federal law enforcement officers cannot reach them.