“What are you doing in my house?” Katherine Lang asked when she returned home from her trip.
Another family had settled-in, complete with a new couch, dishes in the cabinets, two dogs, and a cat.
Lang had recently purchased the home, but still hadn’t fully transitioned from her previous house. She spent 10 days away but went to check on the new house to make sure the pipes didn’t freeze.
When Lang saw the two women inside and asked what they were doing there, one of them began to cry. “It became clear to me what happened,” Lang said.
Tyggra Shepherd, one of the women occupying Lang’s house, had been the victim of a scam.
She was looking for a place in the area and responded to a Facebook post by a woman named Rosie Ruggles who said she had a house for rent.
She was excited to see a newly renovated, fully-furnished home for $850 a month. It seemed like the perfect spot for her and her family.
Eventually, Shepherd wired Ruggles $1,150 and adhered to a fake lease agreement.
When she was supposed to receive the keys, the “landlord” said that the delivery driver had been arrested.
She told Shepherd to go in through the back door and start moving her things into the house. “She made it very believable,” Shepherd told The Beaufort Gazette.
“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.”
When Lang heard Shepherd’s story, the two of them agreed on a timeline so that Shepherd could find a new place to stay.
They alerted police, who said this was the only recent report of a rental fraud they’ve seen in the area.
Susan Trogdon, a local property manager, has heard stories of these kinds of scams in the past. “They tell people to send the deposit to a certain address, and people trustingly do that,” she said.
Since the ordeal, Shepherd has found a place to live and Lang has moved into her new home.
The con artist who swindled Shepherd blocked her on Facebook and hasn’t returned any calls — as con artists are wont to do.
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