A local woman said she was scammed out of $2,100 after being contacted by someone who claimed to be a landlord on Craigslist.
Ashleah Burke said within a week, she lost the money she saved and her trust for people. She said her reality is a nightmare.
"She really made it seem like she wanted to help us get on our feet and she took advantage of us," said Burke.
Last Tuesday, Burke and her husband posted an ad for 'housing wanted' on Craigslist. She said on the same day, a woman who said her name was Andrea Cardenas, called her claiming she had a condo for rent on Olive Drive.
"She had us fill out a lease, took all of our information, gave us the keys, which ended up being fake," said Burke.
Burke said after giving Cardenas their deposit, $2,100 in cash, Cardenas said she would return with their lease agreement and receipt.
Burke said that never happened.
"I checked all the property details and I found out her name was not on the listing for the home. I contacted the property owner and they've never heard of her," she continued.
Burke said she trusted Cardenas, who had keys to the condo and gave them a tour. But, property manager Tony Diaz said he's the only one that shows the property, and his company does not employ anyone with the name Andrea Cardenas.
"We re-keyed the whole house just to make sure. I did notice that someone had removed a 'For Rent' sign that we had. My concern is, how did they get a key?," said Diaz.
Burke said she's in the process of filing a report with the Kern County Sheriff's Department. Deputies say when it comes to paying perspective landlords you should always be able to track your money.
"By all means, avoid paying cash. It's just a recipe for disaster if you do fall victim to one of these scam artists, " said Deputy Victor Keesey, Kern County Sheriff's Department.
Law enforcement says rent scams are on the rise, mostly due to the increase in foreclosures.
Our calls to 'Andrea Cardenas' were not returned.