SAN FRANCISCO─The Gonzales family recently lost $10,000 after being tricked by a man claiming to be the property owner. Three days after moving into their new home, the family was evicted by the real landlord three days after moving in and were forced to live in a van.
They found the home in a clone online ad. Originally, the ad was from a real-estate company, but had someone else representing themselves as the owner. The family of five, which includes three kids ranging in age from 8 to 15 years old were asked to pay the first and last month’s rent with the security deposit which was at least $10,000, which was all the funds in their savings account.
Unfortunately, the Gonzalez’s cannot get their money back according to a law called the “electronic fund transfer act”, Joe Ridout told ABC 7 news. It limits an individual’s protections 48 hours after the transaction takes place. Asking for cash or electronic transfer payment is a red flag. Ridout indicated that people should be careful of properties priced below market value. The property in question was a $1000 higher than what the Gonzales’ thought they were renting for.
Before a transaction takes place, one can research the agent’s legitimacy by searching their license number on the California Department of Real Estate.
A GoFundMe page was created to help the family. Within a week they were able to raise over $16,000. ABC 7 News reported that the family has been able to move out of their van and take temporary refuge in a hotel room until the are able to find a new home.
Some comments left on the GoFundMe page included the following:
“I don’t have much, but I hope it helps. God bless you guys even more,” said Margarita Castillo.
“Everyone needs help now and then. Good luck to you all,” said Anthony Hernandez.