Lexington woman’s home targeted in online rental scam


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Imagine listing your home for sale only to have people showing up insisting on renting it.

Gina Jesse says it’s happening to her. She’s been targeted in an online rental scam.

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“Despite it being a scary thing we did catch it early,” says homeowner Gina Jesse.

When Jesse listed her home in the Westmorland neighborhood for sale last week, she never would’ve imagined what came next.

“It was on Monday of this week that we had someone approach the house insistent on renting it,” says Jesse.

Insistent requests to rent her home, not to buy it.

The stranger who came up to her house found an ad online.

“That sent me to the internet to verify their information and to find out what was going on and since then I’ve discovered the ad was posted on 15 different websites,” Jesse says.

She’s talking about an ad that looked exactly like the ad her realtor had put together but this one listed her almost half-a-million dollar home for rent at $650 a month, utilities included.

“So with that price point I was afraid we were gonna be inundated with people,” Jesse says.

So, she went hard to work to get these phony ads taken down.

But not before reaching out to the accused scammer.

A “Jesse Keith” responded back. An ironic name because it’s her husband’s reversed.

“They’re going through great lengths to accomplish whatever their goal is,” Jesse says.

She says when she reached out posing as someone interested in the home, “Jesse Keith” responded saying he was out of town but to go and check out the home and to ignore the realtor sign in the yard because it was for rent, not sale.

“So it’s basically encouraging strangers to come onto my property and possibly peak into my windows,” Jesse says.

Now, she wants to warn other sellers.

“I encourage you just as a safety measure to search your home online,” she says.

Police are involved and the third party company that generated the ad, also victim to the scam, is working to figure out what happened.