Sheriff’s office targeting Duncan housing scam

Stephens County housing scam

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - A woman says she was scammed out of $500 when she tried to rent a house in Duncan and she’s not the only one it’s happened to.

The scam revolves around a man taking deposits for a house he claims he was renting out. The only problem is, Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney last year that house was foreclosed upon. Right now, two people have already filed reports claiming their money was stolen, but Crystal Perou, who was a victim of the scam, claims she's talked to at least five others who say it also happened to them.

Perou said she was trying to rent a home in the 3100 block of West Gatlin in Duncan.

"He told us he’d let us get it for a $500 deposit down. He said he’d work out the rent with us and it was ours. We gave him the deposit,” Perou said.

Perou said they tried to get a receipt from the man, who 7NEWS is not naming because he has not been arrested or charged for the crime. After paying the man in cash, he told her he did not have any paper and would give her the receipt the next week. Unfortunately, before they met, Perou started to question whether it was a scam after seeing complaints posted on craigslist.

"We went out there to get the meter number to get the electric turned on. When we came back over there, there was somebody there. He said he was renting it,” Perou said.

Perou said she then saw a post on Facebook with more people complaining about being scammed. In total, she believes there have been seven people who fell victim but as of right now, not all of those people have filed reports.

"We have two victims right now. The money amount right now stands at about $2,100 in deposits. But as time goes on and this investigation proceeds, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t find a few more,” said McKinney.

Sheriff McKinney said they have a suspect in mind, but haven’t been able to interview him yet.

"This individual is known to us from other cases we’ve dealt with the person on. Once we do that, we complete the investigation, we’ll prepare an affidavit and send it up to the district attorney’s office where they’ll make the ultimate decision whether or not charges would be filed. But it appears there would be no reason for us to not file charges,” McKinney said.

Sheriff McKinney said they expect to interview the suspect soon and that it’s frustrating scams like this happen to anyone.

"It’s a shame that we have to be so vigilant in what we do, whether it be on the internet or in public purchasing things, buying things, whatever. It’s a shame that we have to worry about being scammed. There’s a lot of people that are vulnerable to that,” McKinney said.

If you have any information about the scam or fell victim to it yourself, you’re encouraged to call the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department.

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