At this point I wasn't aware the property had become part of a rental scam and listed on zillow rentals. Thankfully, a very honest paralegal (thank you, Rachel), looking to rent in the area, called me on Monday morning with quite a story. She said her first clue was the less than stellar english in the email correspondence. She never actually spoke to a person, but did leave a message at the number listed as the property contact person. Here's his number if you'd like to give him a call :) 661.424.7279. It was listed on the website so I'm sure he won't mind.
After emailing Zillow, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the "rental" was removed from their site (within minutes). I'm not sure what the process for listing properties on the rental site entails, but I'm guessing it needs to be refined. I appreciate Rachel's help. Next time I have an inquiry about renting instead of purchasing, I'll google the address to make sure it isn't listed for rent. I'm thankful no poor soul paid this person an $800 deposit.