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Would-be renters scammed out of apartment money

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Two people got a bit of a surprise Sunday when they showed up at a Stafford County apartment that they thought they’d rented online only to find somebody was already living there and had no plans to move.

Stafford Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said the scam involved an apartment on Garrison Woods Drive. Deputy Chris Smith went there Sunday after the victims realized they had been conned out of about $580.

According to Kennedy, the victims were looking to rent an apartment when they came across an advertisement on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago. The ad was for an apartment in Garrison Woods in North Stafford and interested persons were directed to contact a “Mary Young.”

After several email exchanges, Kennedy said, the victims received what appeared to be a legitimate lease agreement. They were directed to send a check to a bank account in China, where the fictitious Mary Young claimed to be living, and told that Sunday was their day to move in.

The victims showed up Sunday and found that the apartment was already occupied by people who had been living there a couple of years. The occupants had no idea who Mary Young was and were surprised when the would-be renters showed up.

Another resident told Smith that someone else had been at the complex about a week earlier looking for a Mary Young.

Anyone with information about the scam is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 540/658-4410 or Crime Solvers at 540/659-2020.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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