Tuesday, March 1, 2022

How My Family Got Scammed on Zillow.Com

Two years ago, I was living in a four bedroom house with a great job. I had a family and had finally achieved what everyone thought would have been the American Dream. I had a wife and two kids. I was a teacher and performing arts center director. On paper, it was great. In real live, it takes two people to make a marriage.

When my marriage ended, I thought life was over. I thought that I would never see my kids again. But I picked myself up and began to walk forward. Literally, I walked around the block every day. It was the only thing that saved me. Walking. How funny.

I came to Tulsa with no home and no job to closer to my kids. I eventually got a position at a call center and worked to get my own place. My mother fell ill after a routine surgery and was sick for a year. She died three times. She’s still with us, and working to recover every day.

We made it through that. We weathered the storm. It was rough, but we made it. My kids had been displaced and were in a position where their was no stability. I eventually got a reprieve and a place to live. A two bedroom apartment next to a highway. It was not the ideal situation but we survived.

I worked. I started a small business. I created a life and started to feel some stability. It was a good feeling. I listened to the cars go by my house every day. I enjoyed my life with my kids. I barely made it, but was able to give the children a life. Loved it.

I was presented with another opportunity i upgrade my situation. We decided to switch from an apartment to a house. I searched all over the area and finally found someone who was interested in renting to me. They sent me information. They asked for my information. I sent them my information. I gave them my driver’s license. I gave them my kids names. I gave them my social security number. I gave them more information than most people should have. And I gave them $2075 dollars. They scammed me. They were listing fake listings on Zillow and posing as fake landlords. They had me deposit cash in a bank. I fell for it.

I’ve been left in a position where I’ve been kicked back down the hole of trying to dig my way out. My goal is simple. I want to pay rent on a house with a backyard. One that my kids can play in. And because one person chose to scam me, I’m in a situation where I’m unable to do that.

The worst part has been the aftermath. I contacted my bank and there was nothing they could do. I contacted Chase Bank and they have brushed me off. They send me to the global fraud policy which tells me to contact the local branch. The message has been clear from Chase that they are not interested. The Tulsa Police financial crimes division told me that they are not going to investigate this financial crime. And I’m forced to open a small claims case and contact the local news.

It’s been tough. Not going to lie. I’m trying to stay strong and positive for my kids. The scam is one that anyone has the potential to fall for. Be careful about a rental property. Always meet the landlord before giving them money. Always have a paper trail that can be tracked and contested. And always have keys.

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