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'It was too good to be true': Aurora couple says rental scam cost them thousands of dollars

'It was too good to be true,': Aurora couple says rental scam drained them of thousands
Posted at 10:21 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 23:20:22-04

AURORA, Colo. — Editor's note: The following day after this story aired, FirstKey Homes provided Denver7 with the statement that follows this story. FirstKey Homes emphasized they do not list homes for rent on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace
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An Aurora couple thought they had found their perfect first home. Instead, they were scammed out of thousands of dollars.

Terryn Anderson and Isaiah Blacknell said they stumbled upon the home at 1336 South Duquesne Circle last week through a listing on Facebook Marketplace.

"The price and the pictures kind of sold me on the house," Anderson said.

Anderson said the property was listed with a monthly rent of $1,200.

"We were hoping to get this lease which helped us save... and that's why we got the lease," Blacknell chimed in. "The lease was helping to save tons of money in the process."

The pair contacted the would-be landlord listed on Facebook Marketplace, who said he could sweeten the deal.

"He said that they were running a special if we put three months of rent up-front to get two months free, and we thought that was a smart decision to save us money," Anderson said.

The couple said they ended up paying $4,500 to the landlord via Cash App and Bitcoin ATM. On Wednesday, an agreement was reached between the parties, and Anderson and Blacknell moved into the home.

However, the pair's homecoming was short lived. A day after moving in their belongings, Anderson and Blacknell returned to the house to find all the locks had been changed.

"Very, very hurt... very hurt when when we came back and all of our stuff was kind of in there and then we still can't even get inside," Blacknell said.

The couple said they called the Aurora Police Department and were told they could attempt to get inside to gather their belongings. They entered the home through an open window.

According to Arapahoe County property records, the home is owned by FirstKey Homes, an investment company that manages single-family rentals across the country. On their site, the home at 1336 South Duquesne Circle is listed for rent at nearly $2,600 a month.

The young couple said the listing is a pronounced reminder that the home's listing on Facebook, was a scam. Anderson and Blacknell are now living in an Extended Stay Hotel in the Aurora area.

"It was too good to be true... it was too good to be true," Blacknell said.

Denver7 contacted the would-be landlord at the number provided on the original Facebook Marketplace listing. Through text, another offer to move into the home on Duquesne Circle was extended.

Text about Aurora home

Over the phone, when Denver7 asked questions about the property and the circumstances surrounding Anderson and Blacknell, the call was abruptly ended.

Blacknell and Anderson have filed a report with Aurora police.

FirstKey Homes provided the below statement to Denver7 about the situation.

Stories of consumers falling victim to acts of rental fraud by criminals are heartbreaking to hear. To help educate consumers, we provide rental scam prevention information throughout our website, including every property description, on the dedicated Protect Yourself, Online Help Center, and Legal pages, in addition to providing a link to the FTC website that offers further deterrence tips. We also place visible anti-rental scam information and collateral materials at each home – tags on Rently key boxes, counters, appliances, hallways, doors, etc.

Michael Torres Chief Communications Officer FirstKey Homes