South Florida Mother Says She Lost Nearly $15k in Rental Scam

Hialeah Police are investigating the scam

NBC Universal, Inc.

A South Florida mother says she’s now forced to work seven days a week to earn money for a new home.

Sonia Urrutia, a mother of five, thought she had found that home on West 62nd Street in Hialeah via Craigslist but later found out that wasn’t the case. 

“This person took advantage of a mother, and took advantage of disabled children,” said Urrutia, who says three of her children have special needs. “So I feel that I was violated, I feel that I was disrespected.”

Urrutia says she wired her savings of about $14,700 to the person who listed the home for rent. She says the payment was supposed to cover the upfront move-in costs. 

“A week after the wire transfer, he told me that the tenants who were living there currently were not able to leave,” said Urrutia. “So I had to wait like another week. I extended it another week, and then he disappeared.”

That’s when she says her family members went to the home to investigate themselves. 

“My sister, my brother-in-law, went to the property, actually met the actual owners of the property, and it turns out the actual owners of the property never listed the property, never offered the property,” she said. 

NBC 6 spoke to a man who identified himself as the owner of the home. He said he’d never listed the property for rent online and says whoever was behind the scheme had stolen his identity. 

Not only is she missing thousands of dollars, but Urrutia says she’s had to send two of her children to live with their father and a third to live with a friend while she searches for a new home. 

Hialeah Police detectives are looking into the case, the department told NBC 6.

If you’re shopping for housing online via local listings, experts say you should never wire money, and you shouldn’t trust listed email accounts that can be hacked.

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