By Alicia Neaves
BIG SPRING - A Coahoma family is picking up the pieces after they were scammed out of a home that didn't exist and they claim they weren't the only targets.
The family took to Facebook to find an affordable home for rent in Big Spring. Shortly after they posted, a man named Freddy Hinojosa messaged them with a proposition.
"Saying about how he knows a great landlord and how if you were late he could work out a deal with you on paying the rent," said victim, Albert Van Dyken.
It was a deal they couldn't pass up.
"Everything was fine at first. Gave him the first month's rent of $650 and just a few days after doing that, he stopped getting a hold of us. We lost contact," said Van Dyken.
They paid cash to Hinojosa, who they say claimed to work for the landlord, Bill Green. The family even signed a written agreement as a backup.
Their move in date was set for April 1.
When the family couldn't get through to the alleged landlord or Freddy Hinojosa, they did their own investigation. They found that the "home" they paid first month's rent for matched the address of a Taco Villa off Highway 87.
The family acknowledges they might have been too trusting and should have checked out the home before paying up, but that's no excuse for this.
Albert's wife posted about the incident on Facebook and found out they weren't the only ones scammed by these individuals.
NewsWest 9 also tried to call the landlord's number but it wasn't taking calls.
NewsWest 9 also paid a visit to Hinojosa's old work in Stanton and we're told he left five to six months ago.
Police say when there is a written agreement, it turns into a civil matter which has to be worked out in court.
"I just hope he doesn't do it to anybody else, you know? Because it put us out as a family," said Van Dyken.