Metro family rents home from phony landlord in Facebook group

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City family says they rented a home, only to find out the person they were paying wasn’t really the landlord. The real landlord, who first called the cops on the family, is now convinced they are victims of a scam.

“We got stung this time and it’s horrible," Steven Quinter said.

Quinter and his girlfriend Nicole Duncan found the Bennington Avenue home on a Facebook group for Kansas City rental homes. The home’s owner was advertising the home on more traditional real estate sites. He says people were lining up for showings after he and his family did an extensive rehab and put in a new washer and dryer.

“The property manager came on July 7th to show it, and she noticed the lock box was not on the door, and she looked through the window and it looked like a bunch of stuff was there," Johnny Youssef said.

Kansas City Police were called to evict who appeared to be squatters.

“It was embarrassing," Duncan said.

"I know what they are thinking I’m not a monster," Quinter said of his introduction to neighbors under the glare of police lights.

But the family quickly showed police and Youssef their lease along with messages and emails from the person they had just wired $1,600 for first and last month’s rent. They sent the money to a man they never met.

“It was just heartbreaking actually, you know what I mean," Quinter said.

Youssef is letting the family stay for now, and told police don’t go after the tenants, but the scam artist. Youssef believes the phony landlord could also be responsible for stealing the brand new washer and dryer from the home.

“According to them it’s a three-week ordeal just to get the investigation going, which is honestly pretty frustrating because we have so much evidence in our hands. We have the bank information, we have the name of the person who contacted them, we have the Facebook profile, and time is so important right now," Youssef said.

Looking back the victims say there were red flags, from the keys being left in the mailbox, to the several excuses why they couldn’t meet the phony landlord or his lawyer in person. Those included claims the landlord worked on a oil rig and was at sea, and the lawyer had traveled to "German" and had fallen and was in the hospital.

"My dad always said if something seems to good to be true it usually is, and this is one of those cases right here," Quinter said.

Click here for a list of tips to consider before renting.