Facebook rent 'scam' leaves mum homeless
PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 June 2015
A MOTHER has said she is 'sickened' after being 'conned' out of hundreds of pounds by an online rent scam.
Lisa Pearce, aged 30, was set to move to a property in Locking Castle after landing a ‘dream job’ as an assistant manager – and had even enrolled her two sons, aged nine and 13, into a school in the area.
Ms Pearce was contacted by a Facebook friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after he spotted a post she had made on the social media website about needing a house in Weston.
The friend then told her he knew a landlord in the town who was looking for a tenant to occupy a three-bedroom house.
Ms Pearce paid a £275 deposit to the landlord, but when she went to move in, the landlord failed to turn up on three separate occasions. She contacted police and now believes she has been the victim of internet fraud.
Ms Pearce said: “I lived in a council house and was looking to make a fresh start in Weston with my two boys. I had just passed an exam and I wanted to relocate.”
Originally from Nuneaton in the West Midlands, Ms Pearce saw photographs of the inside of the house and instantly decided it was where she wanted to live.
Ms Pearce told the Mercury: “It took about four weeks for everything to be sorted and my new job was confirmed.
“I drove down here on moving day after two failed viewings, but the landlord just did not turn up. She then told me via email that her father had died – but after that she just disappeared and stopped responding to emails and phone messages.
“My so-called Facebook friend conned me out of money for a house which doesn’t even belong to him. He let me lose my home, my job and my money.
“I have spent more than £1,700 on van hire, fuel, wasted journeys, food and accommodation. It has left me sickened and upset, out of faith and quite ill.
“I’m still homeless and trying everything I can to find a house in Weston – I’m currently stuck on a sofa.
“I handed my home back to the landlord, gave up my job, took my children out of school and sold household items which I now need.
“I just wanted to relocate to what seemed like a dream house, start my ideal job, earn a living and provide for my children.”
West Mercia police officers are investigating Ms Pearce’s claims.