DETROIT - Nicole Johnson, a single mother of three on a tight income, said she saved everything she could to rent a home for her family in Highland Park.
Johnson paid her deposit and rent, but when she arrived at the home, the owner of the house was there -- and it wasn't the person she had paid.
"I was in a desperate situation," Johnson said.
She was looking all over for a place to live with her three daughters when she started talking to a man she met on social media years ago..
"He was like, 'Oh, my God. I have a couple places. I can help you,'" Johnson said.
Johnson said the man showed her photos of a place he claimed to be renovating and renting.
"When you're in my situation, anything is livable," Johnson said. "I was praying that it was true. He convinced me."
She paid the man $1,000 for a security deposit before he started evading her. Eventually, Johnson decided to go to the house herself and she came across the real homeowner who told her she had been ripped off.
"My whole world came crashing down," Johnson said. "I'm devastated. My kids we're crying."
The man who reportedly scammed her blocked her on social media. She tried calling him with two separate numbers -- one was not active and the other went straight to voicemail.
"I lost everything," Johnson said. "I sacrificed my car and gave up everything I had believing in this man. He scammed us. He robbed me."
Johnson filed a police report and said she plans to keep pushing the issue until she gets justice.
"It hurts us as mothers and our children," Johnson said. "It's not right."
A fundraiser has been set up for Johnson and her family. You can donate here.
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