Loveland homeowner finds her house up for rent by scammers; says would-be renters keep showing up

LOVELAND, Colo. - A woman in Loveland says would-be renters have been showing up at her home and peeking into windows, but the bigger problem is she never put her house up for rent.

Shelli Swanson told 7NEWS that she bought the home a year ago and ever since then, people who think it is for rent knock on her door, or worse, just walk into her backyard.

"They just say hello and then come around this corner," said Swanson.

Swanson said recently, 10 strangers stopped by in one day.

"One was at my porch. One was at my back gate. And then I decided to call you guys. We've got to stop this," Swanson said.

According to Swanson, her house is listed on sites such as Craigslist and RentMoney as a "Classic bungalow on a shady corner lot," and it is offered for a really low rate. It's a house would-be renters can't wait to see.

7NEWS Reporter Jaclyn Allen called the phone number on the ads to pose as an interested renter, but got the following recording:

"Thank you for calling. The party you have dialed is unavailable. They'll be notified you called."

As of Wednesday night, 7NEWS was not called back.

It is the type of scam that has surfaced in the Denver metro area before.

A few years ago, some Longmont renters who thought they had found the perfect house on Craigslist were told by scammers out of the country to send a deposit, and they would send them the house keys.

"We bought it hook line and sinker. If I had listened to my husband we'd be out $850," the couple said.

To make it look legitimate, scammers often use photos, descriptions and even owner information straight from the home's previous real estate listings.

In Swanson's case, she said one would-be renter gave the scammer their social security number.

Before anyone else makes that mistake, she wants them to know her house is taken.

"If you are not talking to a property management person, and you are not talking to an owner, you can't check it," said Swanson.

Swanson said she has notified Loveland police about the incidents, and has asked that her address be removed from those sites.

Would-be renters were urged to deal locally and talk to the person renting out the home in person.

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