A new change on Nigerian scam: Chico man's home put up for sale on craigslist

Ryan Willard's home on Christopher Alan Lane is up for sale, so he was reasonably confused when people suddenly began showing up at his door in large numbers, asking him when he was going to move.

The visitors were there to rent Willard's home, in fact after seeing it advertised on craigslist with a nice-looking rental rate of just $1,000 per month and an $800 deposit.

The ad even said dogs and cats were welcome.

Willard asked his listing agent, Ryan Vaught with Keller-Williams Realty, and was supposedly told the property had probably been listed as part of a widespread home rental fraud coming out of Nigeria.

Willard checked craigslist and found the listing on his house.

"They used my whole name as their e-mail contact and my MLS listing as the advertisement. It's very sinister and according to my agent, it's happening all the time," Willard said.

The fraud outside about three years ago in the United States as one of the latest wrinkles in the so-called Nigerian 419 scams. Willard said the scammers are likely just trying to get a deposit out of would-be renters and probably have no further contact with them.

Willard said he found out the scammers were offering to provide whoever rented his home with a key. He had no idea how they might in fact might get a key to his home, but in the past scammers wrongly renting homes have figured out ways to get into Realtor lock boxes by obtaining the code online.

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