Moore Family Warns Of Housing Scams Following Tornado

Monday, May 27th 2013, 6:39 pm
By: News 9

As cleanup continues in these tornado-ravaged neighborhoods, a lot of the people affected are looking for a new place to live. But not everyone advertising a home to rent is on the up and up.

That's something Mike and Mary McLean almost learned the hard way. Both were able to get their two sons out of Plaza Towers elementary school before the tornado hit. So they felt pretty lucky, until they started looking for a home to rent.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"We were driving around, and we had people sending us messages to check out this house or check out this website," said Mary McLean.

Then Mike and Mary saw an email, and they thought their prayers had been answered. Turns out it was too good to be true.

"And they wanted the deposit and the application sent to them first, and then they would send the keys and documents," said Mary. "But then we got a return email, and it had another similar email, they had their scams mixed up."

After having survived the tornado by taking shelter in their neighbor's storm cellar, the family couldn't believe anyone would be low enough to try to take advantage of them.

"We actually went and looked at the house it was vacant," Mike said.

"It's a scam," warned Mary. "And taking someone's tragedy and profiting from that is just heartbreaking to us."

Despite their first experience, Mary and Mike did find a legitimate home to rent while their home is being repaired. One that is finally scam free.

"Hopefully this week we get some keys because my kids are ready to move into a home," Mary said.

If you encounter one of these scams on the internet, you are encouraged to contact your local police department or the Oklahoma Attorney General's office. The AG has established a hotline you can call. That's (405)-521-2029.

The AG's office also has information on ways to avoid being scammed.

Those who are trying to help donate money can also fall victim to scam artists, so your best bet is to only donate to reputable agencies like the Red Cross or Salvation Army.