Krystal Bailey moved to Columbus from Michigan with daughter Alana, son Loyal, and her mother Juaria.
"I thought it would start a new beginning, something different for my kids -- new environment, new school, new neighborhood, better things. But all it did was bring us lower than we already were,” said Bailey.
Bailey recorded men taking her on a tour of a house that was advertised on Craigslist. It seemed perfect, but her gut told her something else.
"Seemed kinda fishy because it wasn't a credit check, background check, no references, no nothing. So, that gave me the idea to record it,” said Bailey.
She let her camera run as she toured the house; the men telling her they just needed to install the water meter, and it could be hers.
"Then I'm going to run up the street to the other property and grab the water meter, then he can throw the meter in, change the locks,” one man said.
Though still skeptical, Bailey handed over $2,200 in cash and moved in.
A week later, she came home from work to officials from HUD explaining they owned the house -- not the scammers who rented it to her.
"They changed all the locks. They took everything out of the house and trashed it and told us they can't return anything, and anything in the house was theirs. If we went inside the house it would be home invasion,” explained Bailey.
The family's been staying in a hotel provided by a local church.
"Out of money, one day left in the hotel, have no clothes for my kids. We lost everything. No birth certificate. No social security cards. We really don't have nothing,” said Bailey.
Columbus police are investigating, and Bailey hopes the video will lead police right to the crooks who stole her money.
"But just taking it and leaving me and my kids homeless, it's not right. It's not right at all. There's a lot of ways to go around to get the things you need besides taking from a family who are already in need,” she says
Officials say the crooks broke into the empty house and pretended to be the owner by listing it online. They took the money and ran.
If you are looking to rent, the safest bet is to go through a realtor or a management company.
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