A valley mother living paycheck to paycheck just lost hundreds. She fell victim to what turned out to be an elaborate scam. Contact 13 has a consumer alert, so you don't fall for it too.
"I'm catching 3 to 4 buses just to get to work. Plus, I have to drop my kid off at daycare," says Demisha Dyles.
This single mom of 2 needs a car. Dyles recently got a job at McCarran Airport, which via bus is 4 hours round trip to and from work. So Dyles decided to get a long-term rental.
"For at least a month to hold me until I get paid, so I can save up to get me a car," Dyles says.
She tried traditional rental car companies. But Dyles says she couldn't afford it.
"$800. Yeah, it was up there," Dyles says.
So Dyles did a quick online search and found an ad on Craigslist -- a 2015 Nissan Versa, available for a low monthly rate. Best of all, the company made it real easy.
"He was like, we come to you," Dyles says.
So they set up a time to drop off the Versa. Dyles says they were very polite and professional.
"They came in my house, we did the contract and everything. ... It came out to $675 altogether," Dyles says.
She paid in cash. They took a picture of her license and her electric bill, as proof of residence. Then they showed Dyles the car, handed over the keys, and left.
Dyles went back inside and grabbed her son so they could run some errands. But when she came back outside 10 minutes later...
"The car was gone," Dyles says.
She tried calling the company, but there was no answer. The car was gone, along with her money.
"I was so hurt, to the point where I literally was like, I give up... I couldn't believe that happened to me," Dyles says.
So here's what you need to know: When you rent a car, remember...
"Rental car companies have to be licensed as dealers in the state of Nevada," says Kevin Malone with the DMV.
He says rental companies undergo a full background check and are required to pay regular fees, taxes and insurance. And very important, they can't be based online.
"Rental agencies are required to have a physical location," Malone says.
Dyles learned her lesson the hard way, and now she's warning others. Don't be in such a hurry to get a good deal that you miss the red flags.
"I was so stressed out, your mind just going and you're like, I need a car... I won't want nobody go through this situation. This is horrible and it hurts," Dyles says.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: If you're having a problem with a licensed or unlicensed rental car company, file a complaint with the DMV. Their Compliance Enforcement Division can investigate. That's what Dyles plans to do.