Housing Scammers Hitting Permian Basin Homes

Housing Scammers Hitting Permian Basin Homes

By: Alexa Williams

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Homes for sale are hard to come by in the Basin but before you commit and make your first payment, you need to make sure the keys are in your hands.

A local man, John Burkholder, is selling his house and he got quite the surprise when he looked out his window and saw people walking around in his backyard.

"A few days ago, I had an individual that we caught in the backyard and I asked him if I could help them out. I didn't know anything about it being for rent but I told him it was for sale, they were kinda baffled by it and they took off and left," Homeowner, John Burkholder, said.

The homeowner later discovered that his house was listed on Craigslist by someone pretending to be him so NewsWest 9 decided to email the scammer saying we were interested in the home.

Shortly after, a man claiming to be "John R. Burkholder" responded and said he owned the house but he's currently in West Africa serving as a missionary. After a few paragraphs explaining who he supposedly is and why his home is up for rent, he asked for $1,800 to get the keys and move in.

The scammer also told NewsWest 9 to go to the neighborhood and check out the surroundings, he even said to go and peak through the windows so you could see what it looked like inside.

"They had the square footage, they had three bedroom, two bath, so they did have some information about the home," Burkholder said.

When the homeowner figured out someone was using his name to scam people, he acted quickly.

"The FBI told me to go to their Internet complaint website and I filled out the information there. After that, I contacted Craigslist and then I contacted my realtor," Burkholder said.

John hasn't heard back from the FBI yet but if you are selling your home, it isn't a bad idea to check Craigslist to make sure someone isn't using your name or your property to scam people.