ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: South San Francisco family duped out of $10,000 by fake landlord says he contacted them again about new place

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You will only see this on ABC7 News - We have been continually following up with a family who was duped out of $10,000 when they tried to rent a home in South San Francisco.

We first introduced you to the Gonzalez family one week ago. By the next day, your generosity meant their GoFundMe account exceeded the amount they'd lost.

You raised more than $16,000 and paid for the Gonzalez family to stay in a hotel for a week. Today that week is up.

ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Tracking down fake landlord who duped a South San Francisco family out of $10,000

"This week we have visited four and today I need to see one more place in Union City. I have an appointment there around 5:30 pm," said Victor Hugo Gonzalez.

Victor Gonzalez and his wife Lidia have been looking non-stop for a new place, but this time around, with lots of reservations.

"We try and do more carefully everything. My wife is scared of everybody because she doesn't want people to take our money again," said Gonzalez.

A fear that is justified when Victor explains that every other posting they find online is by the same fake landlord who duped them.



"He contacted me today. He asked me for the new place he has. I recognize it on time but later on I checked everything and he's the same person contacting me with a different number and a different name," said Gonzalez.

We connected both South San Francisco and San Francisco police to a property management company that says they might have a strong lead into who this fake landlord is.

Over the phone, one of the investigators with the South San Francisco Police Department said the scam might have connections in several cities in California.

"I just want people to be careful. The same way that we were duped It can happen to anyone else. They make this scams so real like if they are in fact the property owners," said Lidia Treminio Zeledon.

EXCLUSIVE: South San Francisco family forced to live in van after being duped by fake landlord back indoors

South San Francisco police did not go on camera to protect the investigation but confirmed that they did receive a name and number in connection to the lock box key used in another scam attempt.

Victor Gonzalez said he has a message for the fake landlord, "He took my money from my pocket from my family, but he did not take our dreams. We still continue to look for a place, a comfortable place for us."

An ABC7 News viewer offered for the Gonzalez family to stay with her temporarily in San Bruno.

Victor Gonzalez and his family accepted the generous offer while they continue searching for a home.

Now, how can you protect yourself? Before you give any money to a landlord look them up on the California Department of Real Estate website. You type in their name and it will tell you if they are who they say they are.
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