Summer Bennett was looking for a rental home in Columbia this week. Instead, she found what is believed to be a Nigerian scam that officials say is running rampant through South Carolina and has caught the attention of the FBI.
Bennett spotted two ads on Craigslist for nice homes in good school districts that were renting for about $700 a month, utilities included. Both people listing the ads sent her nearly identical e-mails, saying they had to go out of the country and they would send her a key and leasing documents -- after she wired them a $500 deposit to Nigeria.
Bennett didn't fall for the scam, but others have, real estate officials and consumer advocates said. And the problem that started in Hilton Head Island last year is now affecting all areas of the state and is growing as scammers take advantage of a down economy, they said.
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