Scam hitting vacationers and renters
A Lancaster, Ohio, man said he booked a weeklong stay at a home on Wildwood Court in Sea Pines for Feb. 18. After the alleged owner of the property got money from him and cut off contact, he’s calling it a scam.
“I got taken,” James Hamann told The Island Packet on Monday. “I’ve never been (to Hilton Head), and we were looking forward to it.”
Hamann said he found the rental listing on Craigslist and contacted the “owner” from a company called Ocean Sound Homes by text and email about renting the home for the week, according to a report by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Hamann said both he and his wife would have stayed in the home, and they were planning to meet friends from Atlanta for a few days on their first visit to the island.
Hamann was instructed by a man named Jonathon Copeland to deposit $1,250 into a bank account to secure his rental, the report said.
He did so on Jan. 31.
“After the money was deposited, all contact with Copeland was cut off,” the report said. “Hamann attempted to contact Copeland several times via telephone and email,” with no success.
Sheriff’s deputies contacted Sea Pines security on Feb. 17 to determine whether the home on Wildwood Court is a rental property, the report said.
The home is a rental managed by Lowcountry Coastal Rentals, but it is currently occupied by a long-term renter, according to the report.
The owner of Lowcountry Coastal Rentals told sheriff’s deputies that he didn’t know a man named Jonathon Copeland nor a business called Ocean Sound Rentals, the report said.
A search of the S.C. business entity registry by The Island Packet showed no results for any company by the name of Ocean Sound Rentals.
Hamann said his family will not be traveling to Hilton Head for their planned vacation, but the incident doesn’t rule out ever vacationing on the island.
“It’s not Hilton Head’s fault,” he said Monday. “Don’t trust everything on Craigslist.”