Fake Craigslist ads steer strangers into Grand Rapids couple’s home

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Bill and Kelly Doughty thought they found the perfect rental on Grand Rapids' west side and decided to look no further. They moved into a home on Valley Avenue on November 1, 2016.

"We spent months, and I can't tell you how many houses I looked at," Kelly Doughty said, "and this is the one that finally suited everything, all our needs."

But the couple said it soon began dealing with unwelcome guests. The Doughty's said strangers keep peering into their windows and have even entered the home without invitation - through the door and a window. They said the visitors reported learning of the home via Craigslist postings.

Kelly Doughty said, "People have told me that they have already sent [the scammer] money."

The listings are for $600 a month. Doughty said that's a steal since they're paying $935. It's money that people wired Western Union to the poster with the expectation they'd get a key in return. The couple said it has followed all of the necessary steps to get the fake posts removed from Craigslist. However, multiple postings have popped up over the past three months.

The couple said the management property said all that can be done is flagging the property on Craigslist as spam.

"It seemed like the more I marked it prohibited or spam, the more it would go back up," Doughty recalled.

The couple posted signs in their front yard to explain that the online ad is a fake. Even the Grand Rapids Police Department allowed them to place two official 'no trespassing' signs on their property.

They said January 17th was the last time they've seen a posting on Craigslist and want to warn others of this issue.

"What happens when I get into a situation where I'm confronted with people in my own home, and I have to make a decision with what's best for my family?" Doughty questioned.

Kelly Doughty said, "We just want to live peacefully and finally get to know our neighbors without them having all kinds of strange people pulling in here and wondering what's going on."

 

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3 comments

  • Annette Harris

    I have had the same problems with trying to find a rental, but I refused to send money. I did however Google the address and if it came up as a hiuse for sale. Then I contacted the realtor.

  • Annette Harris

    I have had the same problems with trying to find a rental, but I refused to send money. I did however Google the address and if it came up as ahouse for sale. Then I contacted the realtor.