CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — There’s nothing like a week on the sand to get your mind off your worries. But what if you show up to the property you think you’ve rented for the week, and find out it’s a scam.
That’s apparently what happened to some visitors to our area who found a vacation home on Craigslist.
Rental properties at the beach are popular during the summer, and a spot at Paradise Tower in Carolina Beach one of the best. Right on the beach, close to restaurants and a water view at that.
Some renters ended up at the police station, though, with worries they had been given the run around by a woman they paid through a Craigslist ad.
“She ruined a lot of people’s vacations,” Carolina Beach Police Det. Harry Humphries said. “They texted her. They emailed her. They called her on the phone. She hadn’t answered the phone, so they were afraid they were getting scammed.”
That’s exactly what police say happened.
Wendy George Rickman and Michael Rickman are behind bars, charged with multiple counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
The duo allegedly rented out condos and collected money before the guests arrived. When folks got there, they realized something was wrong when they couldn’t get into the building, or in the case of an address at Wrightsville Beach, they realized what they paid for was an empty lot.
Carolina Beach Police are working on the case, but warn beach visitors to beware of online posts.
“If the people want the money up front or it deposited into a bank account, that normally says, ‘You’re not going to get it back,'” Det. Humphries said.
The Rickmans are still in jail.
Carolina Beach Police say they expect more people to come forward with charges after word of the scam circulates.