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McKinney Family Was Scammed Into Renting To A Fake Owner

Renters will have to be cautious when contacting owners and agents online
Photo: owlyowl | Shuttestock

Local Profile reported in October that rent prices in the DFW area are not slowing down as much as the national average. With evictions in North Texas on the rise, for renters who’ve also had to add inflation to the equation, this has been a rough year and people are looking for cheaper places to live. But desperate times also open the doors to scammers trying to take advantage of people's despair.

According to CBSDFW, the Davila family from McKinney was looking to move their 9-month-old baby away from the mold that was forming inside their rented apartment and they began searching online for a better place to live. When they found a two-story house only a few miles away available on the online real estate marketplace Zillow, they immediately got in contact with the owner.

"We moved so quickly because we were so excited this home just seemed like a perfect home for our family," Breanna Davila told CBSDFW.

Davila set up a tour of the house through a phone call with the owner who guided her into using the door lock box to get inside. "I got the code, I unlock the lock box, I got the key, I looked at the home, I fell in love with the home, I offered to pay upfront and then he asked me to pay him via Zelle," she continued.

Once the Davilas had transferred a total of $4,000, the family moved to what they thought was their new home. Only four days later, a representative from FirstKey Homes, a rental company based in Georgia, showed up to their door with devastating news. "They told me that they were the homeowners and that I was scammed," said Davila.

According to CBSDFW, FirstKey Homes confirmed that the scammer was not an employee of the company and they are cooperating with the criminal investigation by the police.

The Davilas had to move back to their previous apartment. The whole ordeal took $7,000 in costs and yet the scammer still asked for more. "We have to start all over again," said Davila. "He doesn't realize that he's ruining other families' lives by just having his own selfish greed."

An investigation is undergoing to help the family make their money back. The police have the suspect’s name and photo to help the investigation, but no arrest has been made yet.