Scam artist lists stranger's home for rent

Investigator: Scammer in Nigeria tries to collect rent on stranger's home

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - A Hollywood man says his house was put on Craigslist "for rent" when it's not. 

"I actually had a woman come to my house, walk around, go in the back yard, put her head up against the windows and look inside as many rooms as she possibly could," said homeowner Stuart Brisgel. 

The pregnant woman who showed up to look Brisgel's home spotted an ad on Craigslist for a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a heated pool for $800 a month. 

Brisgel told the woman she was almost scammed. 

Unknowing victims are sending large security deposits and rent money for houses they can't move into. 

Curious as to who is behind the ad, Brisgel set up a fake email account and pretended he was interested in renting his own house. The person on the other end responded immediately, actually using an email address with Brisgel's name. 

The scammer said he was working offshore in Alabama and was unable to show the house, but if the first and last month's rent plus a security deposit were wired to him, the house was his to rent. 

The scammer even signed the email, "Sincerely Stuart." 

"It is frightening. I couldn't believe someone would go that far, not only have an email address but to sign their e mails by me," said Brisgel. 

Local 10 has learned while the house was in Hollywood, the scammer is actually in Lagos, Nigeria. 

"This is nothing new at the FBI," said FBI spokesman Michael Leverock. 

South Floridians are losing millions, and many are too embarrassed to report they had been duped. The fact the bad guys are in Nigeria makes it difficult. 

"The reason why you keep seeing the scams is because people still fall for them," said  Leverock. "We have partners overseas assisting us in these investigations, and they are complex." 

If you'd like to file a complaint with the FBI, click here.  

Craigslist does have a warning on its site to beware of scams. 

No one from the company returned Local 10's calls.

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