A Lincoln County, Ore., sheriff's detective says a scam artist working the Oregon coast has cheated as many as two dozen would-be vacationers out of thousands of dollars.

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NEWPORT, Ore. — A Lincoln County sheriff’s detective says a scam artist working the Oregon coast has cheated as many as two dozen would-be vacationers out of thousands of dollars.

The Oregonian reports that a Spokane woman blew the whistle on the scam several months ago. Melissa Sauther says she contacted a woman through Craigslist who offered to rent her a lavish home in Salishan for $250 a night — over the July 4 weekend. The catch: The woman wanted $800 upfront and only by wire transfer.

Sauther persuaded her contact to give her the address, then tracked the out-of-state owner, who said her house was definitely not for rent. Sauther reported the scam to authorities.

Now Detective Quentin Bendel says he’s getting many calls about similar cases.

Carole Barkhurst of the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce says she took a call from an older woman who thought she had rented a house in Gleneden Beach, paying $2,200 cash. Barkhurst says the house didn’t exist.