Contact 6: Man scammed when renting out his home

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- When big events come to town, like Summerfest or the Harley-Davidson anniversary celebration, some choose to rent out their homes. However, FOX6's Contact 6 says before signing with a rental company, know that some promises are too good to be true.

Big events can mean big business for cities, but they can also be a magnet for scammers.

"They faxed me this contract. I filled it out, signed it, and sent it back to them," Willie Pinkton said.

Pinkton signed a contract with Super Week Lodging, hoping to rent out his home during the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

"They assured me my house would be rented out 'before' the Super Bowl and it was going to be a minimum of a three-day stay and make a minimum of $850 per day," Pinkton said.

To get his home listed, the company said he would need to send money up front.

"I would need to send them a check or money order for $895," Pinkton said.

In return, Pinkton got nothing. In fact, he lost the money he sent to the company.

"I didn`t have $895 to give anybody. I didn`t have $.95 to give anybody. I had done everything they asked me to do and I expected them to do their part," Pinkton said.

Homeowners were told if the home wasn't rented or they wanted to cancel, they could get their money back -- which was also not true.

"I tried to call him back several times. I didn`t get any answers," Pinkton said.

Postal inspectors say this scam has been growing in the last five years, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

"Be weary of investment opportunities that are high reward but very low risk," U.S. Postal Inspector Keith Moore said.

"I would never ever do it again," Pinkton said.

The Attorney General in Indiana filed lawsuits against Super Week Lodging and another home rental company for their role in this case and others like it. They want full refunds for customers.