Rental scams in South Bend linked to out-of-state company SFR3

Aaron Smith stands in the doorway of his family's former rental home at 214 E. Irvington Ave. in South Bend. The family was evicted this November after finding out they'd fallen victim to a rental scam and had paid $1,600 to a fraudulent landlord.

SOUTH BEND — At the start of this year, Kayli Miller and her husband, Aaron Smith, moved into a house on the southeast side that seemed almost impossibly ideal.

The couple had longed to raise their four children somewhere other than the long-troubled Miami Hills Apartments, a public housing complex for low-income renters. The family lived there until February, when Kayli found what seemed like an escape hatch: a Facebook listing for a newly remodeled two-story home at 214 E. Irvington Ave.

The proposed rent of just $800 a month seemed hard to beat. Miller reached out to a man who had made the listing under the name Travis Ford. He provided a code to a lockbox on the door so the couple could let themselves in and tour the space. They signed a digital lease that same day, sending the man $1,600 to cover the first month’s rent and a security deposit.

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