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Woman Comes Home From Vacation, Can't Believe What Happens Next

Imagine returning from a trip and finding strangers living in your home. That is what happened recently to Katherine Lang of Beaufort, S.C.

Yahoo News reported that the woman had just completed a 10-day vacation, and was looking forward to getting back and resuming her usual routine. She was shocked to discover that an entire family had taken up residence in her home.

There were two dogs frolicking about as though they belonged there, while a cat napped atop a washing machine. Lang detected the aroma of a meal being prepared in the kitchen, and heard people talking.

“I said, ‘What are you doing in my house?’” she recalled during an interview with the Beaufort Gazette. “It became clear to me what happened.”

According to the newspaper, Tyggra Shepherd and her husband had decided to make themselves at home while the owner was gone. The 22-year-old woman claimed that someone named Rosie Ruggles had rented the house to her, and that she did not realize it was a scam.

Shepherd said she merely responded to a message on Facebook listing supposed rental properties. The woman explained that while searching for a place in Beaufort, she had her two young children live with other family members in Kentucky.

She was excited when she spotted Lang’s recently redecorated, three-bedroom house listed for $850 per month. “I was so crushed when I found out it was a scam,” Shepherd said.

"Finding a place to live in Beaufort is hard when you need something you can afford and still raise a family adequately.”

The Gazette reported that Lang purchased the house three months ago. As she headed home from her vacation, her only concern was that the water pipes may have frozen during her absence.

As it turned out, she faced a very different problem. Her first clue that something was wrong was an open door on a shed, which contained personal belongings she did not recognize.

Lang said two women she found inside the house started crying when she informed them that she owned the property.

Shepherd said she had been told that the house came with the furniture and other items that were inside. She sent the purported landlord $1,150 as the first payment on a lease agreement, but did not receive the keys in the mail as promised.

The scammer claimed that the delivery driver who was supposed to bring the keys had been arrested, and advised Shepherd to enter the house through an unlocked back door. “She made it very believable,” the duped renter said.

Shepherd and Lang worked things out, agreeing on a date when the family would leave the house. The police urged Shepherd to report the incident to the FBI.

Investigator Stephanie Karafa told the Gazette that the case was the only such rental scam in recent history in Beaufort. According to Susan Trogdon, who manages properties for the Bundy Appraisal and Management company, three law-enforcement officers meet with area property managers every month to discuss alleged crimes.

Trogdon reported that some scammers have used Craigslist to fraudulently offer rentals. “They tell people to send the deposit to a certain address, and people trustingly do that,” she said.

“People just really have to do their research when they do anything online and find a reputable company — somebody you can verify exists.”

Source: Yahoo
Photo: Beaufort News, Facebook, Google Maps

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