Housing scam hits McDonald County

Anderson woman nearly conned
Housing scam hits McDonald County
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Megan Mahoney lives in Anderson, Missouri with her partner, who is fighting cancer, and their three children with special needs, but after battling a bed bug infestation and being handed an eviction notice, she’s on the hunt for a new place and running out of time.

“Our church family has been able to say that they’re going to try to help us with paying a deposit, but I can’t expect them to do all of it. At this point in time, our family makes $771 a month and it’s hard to raise a family of five on that.”

Mahoney thought her prayers were being answered when she discovered a house through a website on Facebook Marketplace: a three bedroom, two bathroom home.

“It looked really nice. It showed interior and exterior pictures, and I was like, ‘Hey that’s kinda cool,’ and it said $600 a month, and…that’s a little stretching it.”

Mahoney was texted by a person posing as the owner of the home, willing to come down to $500 a month. Mahoney checked out the property and noticed a “for sale” sign, but the scammer convinced her it was for a lot beside the home.

“Everything looked good. I mean, it said the person that I would be leasing from, it had my name written correctly, it has the address of the residence on it,” said Mahoney, describing the lease agreement, complete with a signature.

The scammer said he was out of the country on a mission trip and asked Mahoney to wire money to him in exchange for the keys, a sign realtors say you should watch for.

“Anybody that says we’ll mail you the key, or anything like that, that’s a very good indicator. Do not send money,” warned Angie Crawford with Genuine Realty.

The true listing for the property is a home with flood damage listed for sale at $82,900.

“The homeowner is never truly involved, so then you’re trying to catch the person who’s doing this scamming and that’s gonna be the hardest part,” said Bridgette Farley, another realtor with Genuine Realty who says that anything that seems too good to be true, normally is.

Mahoney realized this was a scam before it was too late, but she’s back to square one, looking for a roof to put over her family’s heads.

“I spent a week and a half working on getting this house and getting someone to help back me which wasted a week and a half of the 30 days I had to find a new home.”

Mahoney says she’s reported the scam to authorities but hopes someone will help her find a new home in the meantime. Her eviction notice is slated for November 3, 2019.

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