A woman posted an ad on Craigslist last month, offering to rent out bedrooms in a South San Francisco home. After touring the home with her on Oct. 13, two young couples paid $900 each in order to secure a room in the house.
Both couples moved into the house and everything was fine until Thursday, when one of the renters, Melissa Maldonado, was confronted by two men who said the property was theirs. After calling the police, it became clear what had happened: the woman didn't own the house and she'd scammed the young students out of $1800.
According to police, the woman probably scouted out vacant homes in the area before breaking into this particular house and changing the locks. She'd also researched property records, found out the property owner's name, and used it as her name so none of the renters would suspect the home wasn't hers. All communication was done through phone and Craigslist email; the phone number she used is no longer in service.
The real owners have ordered the young people to move out of the house immediately, but the couples say they have no money left to rent a new apartment and nowhere to go. They were still in the house as of Wednesday. "We don't know what we're going to do," said Maldonado.