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Indianapolis couple hit by real estate scam out thousands of dollars

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Posted at 8:09 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 08:44:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A couple looking to find more room for their growing family is out thousands of dollars after they were hit by a real estate scam that involved bitcoins, wire transfers and Apple gift cards.

Breana Williams said the home in the 4300 block of Village Trace Court was her dream home. Breana and her husband, Sheridan, found the posting online.

"The neighborhood we live in is pretty rough. We're raising kids. It's not a neighborhood for us to be in for our kids," she said.

As they prepared to move in, they quickly learned they had to move out. The real owner of the property knew nothing about the couple, their daughters or a signed lease.

Breana said the property's real owner said she did not have any applicants for the property.

"And I was like, how was that?" Breana said. "And she was like, no one has applied to this property at all. I was like, well, I was just approved. I have a six-page lease I just signed."

The con man renting out the home claimed to be a truck driver who was unable to meet in-person because he was on the road. The couple believed his story because they have relatives who drive semis and spend weeks out of town.

To make it even more believable, the man sent an ID, which is presumed to be fake.

Breana was asked to pay deposits and rent payments in three separate ways — through a bitcoin ATM, wire transfers and with 10 Apple gift cards each worth $100.

More than $3,000 later, attempting to rent their dream house turned into a horror story.

"We were scammed," Breana said.

The couple sees it as a huge setback. They set up a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise money to find a new home as they expect a third daughter in a matter of weeks.

The MIBOR Realtor's Association recommends its members check on their vacant listings on a regular basis to help prevent these scams.

Progress Residential owns the home in question and placed a sticker on the patio door warning people about this type of housing scam.

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