Local News

Durham police warn public about Craigslist rental scam; man charged

Posted April 29, 2016

William Oliver King Jr.

— Durham police issued a warning to the public about online scams Friday after arresting a man who posed as a woman in a Craigslist post about a room for rent.

A woman told authorities she responded on April 21 to a Craigslist ad for a room to rent in a three-bedroom home in Durham. The woman said she believed she was corresponding with another woman in her age range who needed a female roommate. When the woman moved into the home, police said she discovered that the ad had been placed by William Oliver King Jr., who lives in the home and had been impersonating a younger woman online.

King, 52, of Arnette Avenue, was charged Sunday with obtaining property by false pretense.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a similar scam should call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4440, ext. 29350.

The police department's Fraud Unit offered the following tips for residents:

  • Do not rent or purchase a room or home sight unseen. That amazing "deal" may not exist.
  • Be careful about sharing personal information, including photos, relationship status or any information relating to your personal life. The person you just met online is not your best friend.
  • Take your time. Some scammers will try to rush you into making a decision, claiming that you might lose out on a “wonderful opportunity.”
  • Never wire funds. Anyone who asks you to is likely a scammer.
  • If someone asks you to use a prepaid credit card, it is most likely a scam.
  • If you must meet with someone, do so in a public setting and do so during normal business hours. Avoid bars or anything that entails alcohol. If possible, avoid going alone.
  • Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
  • Never give out financial info (bank account, Social Security number, PayPal account, etc.).
  • Refuse background/credit checks until you have met a prospective landlord or employer in person.
  • Remember that people can hide their identities online. You never really know who you are talking to.

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  • Mary Smith Apr 30, 2016
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    Why aren't the HB2 opponents coming to this gender confused person's rescue?

  • Mary Smith Apr 30, 2016
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  • John White Apr 30, 2016
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    How do we know he is a man? Couldn't this just be a guy that believes he is a woman? I go with that. This is a guy that feels he is a woman so just leave the poor girl alone. Who are we to determine someones sex just by a picture or by their body. We should be allowed to declare our sex to be whatever we want it to be or even not human.

  • Mary Smith Apr 30, 2016
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    Hmmm...without HB2, he would also be allowed to use the women's restroom in Charlotte, right? The gender he identified with (at least in the Craigslist ad) was female, so....

  • Tron Carter Apr 29, 2016
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    Moved into the home without first meeting the other person and/or going to check the place out? Sorry lady, no one to blame but yourself. Can't fix stupid.