A Facebook post has cost one Hawke's Bay property hunter more than $400 after a scammer rented out a property they didn't own.

The victim, who asked not to be named, said she was upset but more embarrassed and apologetic.

"It was upsetting for me but I was more embarrassed and felt sorry because my parents had loaned me some money to help me get into this place," she said.

"I just feel sorry for them more than anything."


She said the scammer who went by the name "Stevie Marie" had approached her with a house to rent after putting a post-up on the Hawke's Bay Boarding, Flat mates and Rentals Facebook page.

"I had been looking for a house for the last two years and was getting desperate so I put a post on Facebook," she said.

"Then later that day I got a message from her and she asked are you still looking for a house and said that she had a couple available."

The victim said she never identified herself as working for Harcourts, just that she was organising the details with her agent.

But the photos used were all ripped off the Harcourts website she said.

General manager of Harcourts Napier James Cooper earlier confirmed "Stevie Marie" had no connection to Harcourts, and it was insulting that she was exploiting the company's good name.

Having asked to view the property she was told she wasn't available to take them through it since she was based in Wellington.

Marie then referred the victim to a TradeMe ad of the property which she later learned were photos and details straight off Harcourts website.


"My friend and I had a look at the house from the outside and it all lived up to the pictures and everything," she said.

"When I agreed to take it she then messaged to get a deposit to secure the place before I signed any papers, which I paid."

Having paid the $216 deposit she was then asked to pay another fee, to change the names on some documents, which she was told she would get back after she had moved in along with her deposit.

"Then she messaged again to say she needed another $205 to change the name on the papers to mine, which I thought was odd so I rang the Tenancy Tribunal," she said.

"They said to pay it otherwise I could miss out on the property."

After paying the money she said "Marie" had given up on all contact and wasn't answering any calls, texts or emails.

"I knew something wasn't right and I talked to my friend about it and we checked her Facebook page but she had already deleted it."

Having reached out on Facebook she soon realised she wasn't the only one.

"We found somebody in Rotorua who had been scammed by the same person, they used a different name and picture but the bank account was the same."

"It's sad when you think this person is just taking advantage of those who are in a desperate situation."

Police have been notified of the incident and are investigating.