VANCOUVER, Wash. - Just when a family thought they had a place to call their own home for the first time, they realized it was a scam.
Krysta and Kalin already had a challenging year: their baby boy Kayson was born with an extra chromosome. The baby, who turns one year old next week, has already had two open heart surgeries and an abdominal procedure, but it seemed like things were about to get better for all of them.
Krysta and Kalin registered with what appeared to be a legitimate realtor website and received a phone call from a man who identified himself as "Matt McCarty." He agreed to work out a deal with them, considering their recent struggles, and provide lower rent in exchange for some work on the foreclosed home he claimed to be renting out.
"We worked really hard to save for it," Krysta said.
"Finally, it felt like the hard work was going to pay off," her husband Kalin added.
They even went to see the home in Vancouver, although "Matt" claimed he had to coach his daughter's basketball game so he couldn't meet them there. The man who claimed to own the house left the door open and a rental application on the counter. The couple provided their personal information, including social security numbers and bank account information.
Kalin and Krysta are now scrambling to close certain bank accounts, and they're worried about identity theft. They also lost $1,000 in cash when they met "Matt McCarty" in a store parking lot and provided the agreed-upon deposit. While they thought it was odd he didn't want to meet inside or at the house, they brushed it off because of the excitement about their new home.
"He was very convincing," Kalin said. "He knew all the lingo and had all the paperwork. He was a smooth criminal for sure."
The man provided a key and the couple began to move their stuff into the foreclosed home. They even began to paint the walls when they got a knock on the door.
"This guy's there, kind of had this shocked look on his face, like what are you guys doing here?" Kalin described. He learned the man was with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and had not put the foreclosed home on sale yet. The man told them they've been scammed.
"Oh my God," Krysta said. "Our heart sunk to the bottom of the ground. It was heart-breaking."
"Our dreams were crushed," Kalin said.
"It's been tough," Krysta added through tears while thinking of the entire year. "It it wasn't for friends and family, we wouldn't have anywhere to go right now."
The couple filed a police report with the Clark County Sheriff's Office, who confirmed the report. Investigators point to a couple red flags: the man never met them at the house and asked for cash up front. The rent was also low for the home they were getting.
"It was everything we were looking for and more," Krysta said. "I guess we should have known it was too good to be true at that point."
If you'd like to help them get back on their feet, the family has set up a donation page.