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From Melissa Atkins

By Staff | Sep 11, 2013

To the Editor,

Life Lesson to Share:

I recently received the most wonderful news-after months of hoping and searching, I had “found” the perfect rental property. It had everything I was looking for, was in my budget, and was even in the perfect location. Finally I would have a small house of my own; I could have my pets, plus a real yard and extra space! Who can pass up a deal like that?

I eagerly made a $200 deposit via Money-Gram to the homeowner . . . A week later I sent another $185 . . . Then another $200, supposedly for first/last rent, helping the owner out while hurting myself. All the while, I was longing and waiting to see this too-good-to-be-true property, my belongings packed and ready to go, telling everyone about my good luck.

But! Now I must wait on the current tenant to vacate, or wait for their belongings to be gone. Then I must wait as my new landlord is out of state, or is too busy, or is involved in an accident, or is having car trouble, or just did not show up while I sat ready to meet him. Two months pass and I remain in my same apartment, wondering if I indeed made a grievous mistake, unhappy and not wanting to believe the worst (for who thinks they are going to be scammed every time they turn around?) But the worst did happen.

After a few choice phone calls and various county office visits, I get my answer: This fella has no property, was involved in no accidents, but he does have an extensive criminal record with prison time and two warrants. In short, I probably won’t see my $600 again (and I’m not the only one). It’s a very upsetting and crushing ordeal to think I let this happen. Now it’s time to unpack. Why keep looking for new property at this point?

In closing, beware of any and all potential scams, even those involving Money-Grams. Don’t trust or believe anyone because when you are desperate, you will believe anything as long as your hopes are high. I never expected this to happen. But it did. And it cost dearly.

Melissa Atkins

New Martinsville