Lakeside man warns others of Craigslist scam

SAN DIEGO - A Lakeside man thought a Mission Beach vacation home would be the perfect place to celebrate his daughter's college graduation, until he said he was duped in a scam.

According to David Chavez, he saw an ad on Craigslist that read: "You are only steps away from the beach!"

The property in the 700 block of Island Court had an oceanfront view, and Chavez was hoping to rent it to celebrate his daughter's UC San Diego graduation party at the end of the month.

"I needed one fairly large, so I found a five-bedroom that seemed to fit my needs. Price was in my price range -- right around $600 or $700 a night," said Chavez.

Chavez then signed the rental agreement and agreed to wire $1,100 to the Craigslist poster as a deposit.

"I was feeling a little nervous," said Chavez. "I've never rented a beach house like this through Craigslist."

Chavez then asked the Craigslist poster to see the house twice. Both times, the supposed owner never showed.

So, Chavez tracked down the real owner.

"I asked if I was on the agreement for Memorial [Day] weekend and he said, 'No, you're not' and I said, 'Uh oh, there's a problem,'" said Chavez.

Chavez said he believes it was all a scam. He called the San Diego County Sheriff's Office, who issued a search warrant for Craigslist to release records on who posted the ad.

The scammer used the name of a former realtor out of Los Angeles. 10News tried calling but the phone number found was disconnected.

"When you realize you've been scammed you feel pretty dumb," said Chavez.

Chavez is now out $1,100 and still looking for a place to have his daughter's party. He hopes others won't make the same mistake.

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