GREENPORT - A Greenport homeowner says she found her house for rent on Craigslist despite never putting up a listing for it.
The two-bedroom rental in Greenport for $1,500 a month was supposed to be a dream home for Alex Lott and his girlfriend. He found the listing on Craigslist, an online classifieds site. Lott emailed the contact on the listing and was sent back lease agreements and other paperwork.
Lott then sent a $1,500 deposit, and that was the last he heard from the Craigslist contact. He says he immediately knew he had been scammed.
Joyce Culver is the actual owner of the home and had offered it for rent, but through a local broker, not Craigslist. She says the scammer copied all the information the broker put online and then created an ad on Craigslist. The scammer even used Joyce's name.
Real estate agent Pam Smith advises to do research before anything else. She says to make sure prospective renters meet with the homeowner or to have a real estate agent show off the inside of the property.
Southold town police say scams like this are an ongoing problem. They are currently investigating the Greenport incident.