A mum-of-four fears her family could be homeless after she claims she was conned out of more than £2,000 in a flat rental scam.
Shirley Jones says she found a three-bedroom home in Nuneaton available to rent on Gumtree and forked out £2,250 as a deposit to secure the property.
But when the mum, from Coventry, moved in she claims her new ‘landlord’ turned out to be a tenant of the property.
It was after she had moved in all of her belongings that she discovered the truth she had been duped by a tenant, rather than dealing with the landlord.
Shirley says the tenant had no right to lease the property to her.
She claims the man took her money, despite not being legally entitled to do so and it has left her broke.
The 46-year-old now fears she’s at risk of homelessness and left without savings to get a new home.
West Midlands Police are now investigating.
Shirley, who is currently out of work, said: “I have got four children and this has now left me broke.
“I moved all my stuff in and then found out he had conned me. I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I could be kicked out and made homeless.
“I have spent ages saving up to move and found this one on Gumtree and thought it would be perfect. Now I’ve been scammed.
“I’m sharing my story because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
Shirley was due to move into the property with her children aged 11, 12 and 13. She also has an 18-year-old.
She says she is now unsure about her future.
She added: “If anyone could offer me a three-bed house before I get turfed out of this one that I have spent all my money on I would appreciate it.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We are aware of a report of fraudulent rent activity at an address in Nuneaton and will be speaking to the victim.”
A spokesman for Gumtree said: “Gumtree takes all allegations of fraud extremely seriously and we were sorry to hear about Shirley’s experience. We understand that the case has been raised with the West Midlands Police and our dedicated trust and safety team will be available to support the investigation if required.
“Whilst fraudulent adverts are uncommon, we urge anyone who thinks they may have come across a scam to report it to us immediately via the ‘Report this ad’ button so that our dedicated trust and safety team can take necessary action. This could include removing adverts and blocking offending users, as well as supporting law enforcement in their investigations.
“We require that property ads on our site comply with government regulations for property advertising. We also list safety advice for prospective tenants on our website, which recommends that all potential tenants check the relevant paperwork, ask to see proof of ownership, and ensure a tenancy agreement is in place before paying deposits or holding fees. Further support and our posting policies can be found via our help desk: help.gumtree.com.”