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Sheriff’s Department warns of rental scam artist

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday sought the public’s help in identifying a woman running a scam on people renting out rooms.

The woman responds to classified advertisements, such as those on Craigslist, and says she would like to put a deposit down — usually $200 — after viewing the available room.

Sheriff’s Detective Michelle Craig said the woman then explains she has a check from her previous landlord, usually for $800, and asks her victims to deposit the check in their bank accounts for her. When they agree, the victim and the scammer head to the bank together and the victim keeps the deposit amount and hands the woman the rest, Craig said.

The bank eventually learns the supposed landlord’s check was a fraud and the woman is never heard from again, according to the detective.

She has victimized at least five people, authorities said.

Craig said she is white or Hispanic in her mid-30s and about 5 feet 2 inches tall with a heavy build, short dark hair and dark eyes. She generally uses public transportation, Craig said.

Police asked anyone with information to call Craig at (760) 510-5238.