LINDEN - Four families say that they are out thousands of dollars after they were duped by a scam on Craigslist.

The different sets of families all answered an ad posted on Craigslist looking to rent a home on Cedar Avenue. However, the home is not for rent and the person who posted the ad is nowhere to be found.

The families say that they met with someone about the home, and some were even shown the inside. They all paid cash in advance, and the keys did not work when they showed up to move in. 

They also could not reach the person who posted the ad, so they reported the scam to police.

“We’ve since contacted the owner who lives out of town and he told us there hasn’t been anyone living here since March,” says Linden Police Capt. James Sarnicki. “Those tenants were kicked out for nonpayment of rent and bad checks, so no one is living here and the owner hasn’t given anyone authority to rent it [out].”

Police are looking into whether or not the former tenants are involved in the scam.

Sarnicki says that it is important to use caution when attempting to rent a home or apartment over the internet. He says to beware of any ads where the seller wants cash and try to get some sort of proof that the seller owns the property that they are offering for rent.

Anyone else who thinks that they were scammed or has any information about the crimes should contact Linden Police Detective David Kother at 908-474-8556.