Beware Rental Scams Operating on Craigslist.com

By
Real Estate Agent with InActive Agent
http://actvra.in/dZB

As you may have read in my previous Blog, the Nigerian 419 scam has invaded our very own realty market here in Washington State. This is a fairly sophisticated scam that many people have fallen for and lost thousands in the process. Any clients you may have that are intending to buy property for the purpose of renting it out needs to be aware of this situation.

One popular free advertising source known as Craiglist.com is a steady source of victims for the scam artist operating out of Nigeria and the UK. However, it's not uncommon for listings on the MLS to receive such offers as well. There are three groups involved in perpetrating the scam. The first bunch are known as the Yahoo Boys, and they are the ones that scour the web for email address regarding rental properties. They send out emails by the thousands in the hope a few will respond.

Once someone has they may pass it on to another scammer that's experienced in the art of reeling the victim in (2nd level). All of this activity is watched over by the ring leaders (3rd level) that actually monitor all of the email accounts to insure the "worker bees" are performing correctly, and if it appears one is dropping the ball they will pull him out and bring in another more experienced player. The ringleaders collect the funds and actually pay commissions down the line to the boys that reeled them in. Many of the Yahoo Boys are college students and are given computers and promises of big money to participate; they view it as a job. It's not any different from Americas own drug dealers luring kids in to selling drugs for them. A great deal of this type of activity takes place in internet cafés, but often the kids are provided laptops and internet connections to work from home.

I recently ran an ad on craigslist.com to see if they were still working it. Craigslist has posted many warnings against responding to such solicitations and I was curious if the scammers had moved on to more fertile ground. They have not; I   received 16 such inquiries in one day to a simple ad offering a room for rent in Bellevue. I used a fictitious identity and a newly created email address. I'll use the emails from just one of them as an example. This particular scammer managed to have a check on my doorstep by the next day!

This is a common type of email sent in search of victims and is sent to dozens of people at a time (they are often poorly written):

First response to my ad:

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hi ,
I am willing to rent a room or seek roommates who is nice and honest.
My name is Helen and I am 28yrs, Single, never been married, I am originally from Harrisburg, PA but I am currently out of the United States, I should return back to the State, as soon as I am able to secure a room where I will stay.


I am honest, trustworthy and caring person, who enjoy making good friends, I dont smoke and I dont drink ( but I am not against it), my hobbies are traveling, and Singing, I go to a friends party, but I dont stay late at night.


I would have loved to come and look at the room, but I am not in the States yet, so I will trust you on what you tell me regards the room.
I am currently working for GVI (GLOBAL VISION INTERNATIONAL) and I travel most times to the UK, I work as resercher on a construction Project/Research and Exploration Expedition.
I am moving back to the States. this very week, I have plans to staying back in the States, and look for a part-time job with my degree in Marketing, have thought about it carefully and I want to move to friendly city, where I can start my own life different from the one I have lived in the UK while working with my company GVI and the part-time job I will get any moment from now.
So I just want you to confirm the rent including utilities and if there is any deposit, whats the amount to move in all together? I am willing to stay for up to 8 months but I can move out during this 8 months if you want me to, as soon as I arrange payment for 2 months rent and deposit, when do I move in?


What is the closest international airport to the house? I will ask my company's associate in the US to send you a payment to cover for 2 months to confirm my willingness to occupy your space.
Please forward me your full details where you would want the payment be mailed to:


(Full Name)......
(Address):.....
(City, Zip Code):...
(Email):...
(Direct Phone):...


Thanks, I will be waiting for your details so I can proceed with the payment, I have also forwarded you my picture so you will know how I look.


Regards,


Helen
+44(0)7031817967

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Once someone has responded and expresses interest in renting to the scammer, they will receive this (already calling themselves your roommate), the "private email address" is actually the pass-off to the more experienced con artist.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Michelle,


How are you doing, This is Helen, your roommate, this is my private email address............. carterplp@yahoo.com, I have forwarded your details and I am looking forward to meet you, so the payment of the room will get to you by Wednesday-Thursday due to the postal system, as soon as you get it do not hesitate to contact me so I can proceed with my flight. I will also need your phone number just in case I want to reach you.


My company associate in the States has issued a cashier's check to cover for the rent and my expenses during my trip to the states, as soon as you get it, deduct your rent for 2 months including deposit and forward the remaining funds to my traveling Agent, through Western Union so I can use it to get my flight ticket. I will be buying a used car when I arrive, I will appreciate it if you can help me remove your ads from the internet so I will be assured that I am the only one contacting you regards the room. do you have YAHOO or MSN instant messenger so we can also talk for free on yahoo, my yahoo chat ID is: carterplp@yahoo.com.


Thanks, I cant wait to meet you in person, I will forward you the tracking number of the package(payment)


Your future roommate,
Helen

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

After a bit of small talk you will receive this email:

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Misha,


How are you doing?, I am happy that you will get the payment today, the UPS tracking number is (J2080425169), you can go to http://www.ups.com/USto track the package. I was informed that the $4550 was mailed to you to cover for my rent and my flight ticket to the US, as soon as you get it, go and deposit it in your account, you will help me transfer the balance of $2400 to my traveling agent who is in charge of my flight directly, while the remaining funds will be used towards my rent and utilities. I will be flying on either KLM or British Airways, since I am a member, but will forward you my flight details as soon as it has been scheduled.
Below is my traveling agent's info where you will transfer my ticket funds to, through Western Union Money Transfer, you only need the Agent's Name and City, Zip and country to transfer funds using Western Union Money Transfer.

(Name): TIMOTHY MONTOYA

(City)Port Washington

(State)WI.

(Zip) 53074

I will be expecting the following info from you as soon as you send the funds, I am aware that the Western Union Agent will charge you for sending fee, please use out of the funds to pay the tranfer fee, I will need the info as follows:

(1)Exact Amount Sent(after deducting the transfer charges):................
(2)Senders Name and Address:...........
(3)Money Control Number/Reference Number(MTCN):.........


Please, do make sure the funds are sent same day you get the payment so I can get my ticket on Friday and fly on Saturday, that reminds me, how do I get the keys to the room, will you be available to pick me up on Thursday???.
Thanks, I awaits the Western Union Details.


Regards,
Helen

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Then the sense of urgency begins and often you will receive several emails in rapid succession: 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Hello Misha,

How are you doing, I just got your message, please make sure the funds are wired today, Saturday is my flight, I want to be able to schedule a flight tomorrow, did you get my traveling agent's info?

Thanks, looking forward to meet you.

Helen

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hello Michelle,

How are you doing, did you get the payment yet, I tracked it and it has been delivered at the front door of your room, so please I will need your swift response ok, I cant wait to meet you, will you be able to pick me up at the airport?

Thanks, will be waiting for the Western Union Details.

Helen

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Because I like to see how they deal different objections I send various responses, this is one I used:  

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Me: Yes, it was there when I got home from school today but it was too late to go to the bank. I talked to my mom today cause I was real excited about you coming here, and she thinks it's a great thing. She did suggest though that I wait until the check clears with the bank before sending any funds to you. I'll have to ask the bank how many days it takes to clear completely, hope that's not a problem luv. I'm really excited about your coming here and I know we're going to be the best of friends! 

Scammer: Hello Misha, How are you doing, I am really excited at the thought of meeting you, I can see that you are nice and honest, I am the same kind of person, I cant wait to meet you, please the bank might want to put 2-3days on it, I wont be able to wait for that long.

I am asking you, if there is anything we can do so I can get my flight, or if there is a way you can borrow money for me and as soon as it clears, we will replace it back. Can we exchange pictures?

Helen

Me: I maybe could borrow some money from my student loan account, but that's about all the money that's in it. If for some reason I couldn't pay it back I wouldn't be able to pay for next semester and I would not be able to attend classes. My mom would just kill me! What's your flight number and departure time?

Scammer: Hello Misha, I really appreciate what you are doing to me, I promise to be the best fried you ever have, please, maybe we shouldnt tell your mom about it, so when the check clears, we can return it back, my flight is Saturday 6pm, I will need to pay my traveling agent before I can get a confirmation for my flight. ok.

Please, I will appreciate it if you can wire the money to my traveling agent today or early tomorrow, It is certain we will replace it back ok. Thanks. Looking forward to meet you

Helen

Me: I do feel like I've known you all my life, and I'm certain I can trust you. Maybe when I go to the bank I should just explain the urgency of the situation and they can call the bank that issued the check to confirm it's good. I'll bet that would solve our problem! What do you think? I hate to lie to my poor mother, she's been really sick with cancer and all and she doesn't feel good. Wouldn't it be better to just ask the bank to help us out? 

Scammer:  Hello Misha, I understand, I wouldn't want you to lie as well, there is nothing the bank can do because it is a policy they must follow, let just see how many days they will ask use to wait then. Thanks, looking forward to meet you.

Helen

(After this email, a more experienced scammer came in. This one was dropping the ball)

Me: Gee thanks, that's a good idea. I knew you would be understanding of the situation. I actually forgot where you're flying from! I see your travel agent is here in the US, did you used to live in that State? I'm still so excited knowing your coming so soon, the weathers still pretty nice so we can spend a little time going downtown and eating at all the beautiful restaurants. What's your favorite kinda food Helen! 

Scammer: Hello Misha, How are you doing, I am exicted about meeting you as well, yes I use to live in Harrisburg, PA and Wi but thats a long time, I am originally from PA. I like lights food, yes we could go out and have a nice time.

Helen

Me: Where are you now, are you in England? I've always wanted to go there! What do you do for work?? I want to be a Hotel Manager, or maybe work on one of those big cruise ships after I graduate. Did you go to college in Harrisburg? You mentioned earlier we could exchange pictures; I don't remember if I ever sent you any or not, so I'll go ahead and attach a few for you now. 

Scammer: How are you doing? I just got your email, I want to know if i can borrow some little funds from you, any amount you have, I will appreciate it. I WANT T RAISE SOME MONEY TO BUY MY FLIGHT BEFORE THE CHECK CLEARS, the days the bank asked you to come seems like a year to me, I will be waiting for your swift response.

miss ya

Helen

Me: How much do you need to borrow sweety? I don't think it will be a big problem. Can you possibly send me a scan of your photo identification, like a driver's license, or school ID? Then I at least know exactly who I'm making the loan too. 

Scammer: Hello Misha, how are you doing? I just got your email, I cant believe you are asking me for these just because I ask you to borrow me some money, I dont have a scanner to scan what you have asked me to send to you.

But, I want you to know that I am an honest person, I cant borrow what I will not pay for, it is very urgent thats the reason why I turned to you for assistance, we are now friends, I can assist you if you want me to as well.....

Please there is no way I can send all this, since I dont have a scanner, I want to believe you trust me right? Please........

Helen

Me: Well, shoot, don't they have places that can scan for you? Oh, wait, I know. Maybe you can just take a picture of it and send that! I would at least like pictures of you or something, I know we're friends and all but I've never even seen you. Plus, you didn't say how much you want me to loan you. I only have about $5,000 in my college loan account that I'm supposed to use for school next semester, if I sent you that I would really need to be sure your going to pay me. If I lose my college money I can't return to school for half a year, and my mothers so sick with cancer I know it would just kill her if I wasn't in school.

It's not that I don't trust you hon, but the check didn't come from you, it came from another person. I have no idea who that person is. What if they cheated you and me both? What should we do Helen???

Scammer: Hello Misha, I just got your email and I believe you, I wouldnt want you to risk anything for your college ok, I will have to wait till the check clears then, I just hope it wont tkae more than 3day, but what I was acutally going to borrow from is $1000 and not $5000, I was just thinking I could be in the State by this new week, so we can visit alot of places together, I am really excited about meeting you.

and I know you will make a good friend. I wish you could borrow just the $1000 before noon tomorrow, I would appreciate it, that means I will still be able to fly later in the evening on Saturday.

How is your parents doing, I hope she is using her treatment, where di she travel to? would you like to visit the UK in your holidays? we cna go together and stay in my house here in London.

Thanks, will be waiting for your email.

Helen

Me: So sorry I just got your message Helen, I went to my best friend's birthday party (see pic) and we had such a good time. I really wish you could have been there. As for your question, $1,000 doesn't seem so bad; it is a lot of money to me so please realize that even losing that amount would dramatically affect my life.

The banks aren't open tomorrow though Helen, so I can't do it until Monday. You really have to swear to me though, if the check your friend sent for any reason doesn't clear (which it can't in 3 days, it takes over a week), you will pay me when you get here.

Surely you understand that even losing a thousand dollars would mean I can't continue my education, and when my mother returns from France from her cancer treatment, the last thing in the whole world I want to do is break her heart and tell her I lost my school money and had to drop out. I think I would rather kill myself than do that.

So please, you must promise me on the Holy Bible you will make good on the loan if the check isn't good. Do you promise??

Love you always,

Scammer: Hi Misha, How are you doing, I just got your email, yes I realized that alot of things is at stake if you have to borrow me the money, I promise to give you back if anything happens to the check ok, but I bet you nothing is going to happen, because this is my pay check, and no one will want to send me a bad payment, but I promise to give you back the funds if anything happens ok..... trust me on this.


Regards the party, I saw the pic, I just wished I was there with you, at least thats another avenue where we can spend time together and get to know ourselves better, right now it is as if I have known you for years, the understanding is just too perfect.
I cant wait to be there so we can go to other occasions like that, we could even visit London together during your hols in school. Please, do make sure the funds are wired early on Monday, try and do everything very early on Monday, I will really appreciate it.....I promise to pay you back in a very big way!


Thanks, looking forward to meet you.
Helen

(As you can see, the scammer is finding humor in ripping her off when he say's "I promise to pay you back in a very big way!")

Me: How much of my school money should I send? What do you need for your trip? I've seen those pics before, is that all you have?

Hello Misha,

How are you doing today, sorry I have not been online for sometime now, I have been busy putting my things in place for my trip. I would have appreciate $1500, but I am not sure you would be able to do that? if it is possible help me with $1500, and if you think $1000 is ok, then try and send it to me very early Monday morning ok.

Please, it is Monday here and the time is 4:56am, I will be coming back to check my email for the Western Union Details ok.


 I hope you still remember my agent's info:

(Name): TIMOTHY MONTOYA

(City)      Port Washington

(State)    WI.

(Zip)       53074

I will be expecting the following info from you as soon as you send the funds, I am aware that the Western Union Agent will charge you for sending fee, please use out of the funds to pay the transfer fee, I will need the info as follows:

(1) Exact Amount Sent (after deducting the transfer charges):................
(2) Senders Name and Address:...........
(3) Money Control Number/Reference Number (MTCN):.........

I am looking forward to meet you Misha, I cant wait for us to paint the city with beautiful colors together.

Helen

Me: Thank for all your patience, I spoke with the bank and they said the money was available for withdrawal so I've sent $2,515.00 early this morning. The MCN number they gave me was 289-609-5468. Take care and be sure to get back to me with your flight information!

Now obviously I sent no money and the number is fictitious; often I'll send them to the WU several times attempting to collect, and sometimes I even send them a doctored receipt from Western Union to convince them it was indeed sent. On one such occasion the scammer went to Western Unions office with the fictitious receipt so many times the police were waiting for him when he came the 4th time to collect and his associates emails me asking me to help get him out of jail! He was quite upset and said "Our Minister of Finance" has been arrested!" that made my day.

The two things people have said to me in the past regarding these scams is that:

  1. Anyone getting pulled into such a scam is being greedy and trying to get something for nothing, therefore they deserve what they got!

  

  1. The Nigerians are so poor they're simply acting in desperation and trying to find a better life.

I don't really believe either are true 100% of the time. As you can see by this email exchange, this person I fabricated was merely trying to rent out a room, and for a fair price. It wasn't part of a "Help me sneak 45 million of a deceased persons bank account and I'll split it with you" scam (although that is a common scheme); so honest hard working people are victimized by these scams.

I intentionally said all I could to see if the scammer had any sympathy at all. In the end, it didn't matter how sweet and innocent Misha sounded, that she would not be able to pay for college once the scam was complete, or that her mother was gravely ill. The scammer had no qualms getting her to take her college money and send it and instructed her to keep it a secret from her ailing mother.

I also wanted to show how they befriend the victim and prey on many lonely people. The young and elderly are common victims. I recently saw a young man on TV that simply wanted to sell his motorcycle. He was contacted by a man from overseas and sent a check for more than the amount due. He was then contacted by the "shipper" and asks to wire money so that they would pick the bike up and ship it out. He lost over $3,000 and now has to work 3 jobs to repay the bank or face criminal charges. He wasn't trying to get rich quick, just sell his bike.

I spoke with a Realtor last week that said she had in fact rented a home to someone that contacted her via the web and rented the home prior to arriving from Canada. They did send her a cashier's check, but they did not ask for money back; it was a legitimate deal. So it's not hard for someone to believe that it is legitimate since on occasion people do rent rooms in this manner. Then when the bank permits them to withdraw the money from the account based on the check being deposited, many believe that indicates it has cleared, when in fact it has not.

As for the Nigerians impoverished condition driving them to do this, that's not quite true. The bulk of the profits are going to the ringleaders and they have made billions. The Yahoo Boys are paid nominal commissions for their success. Many consider it a game, as this popular song indicates.  It's called "I Go Chop Your Dollar" and has lyrics such as this:

"419 is just a game. You are the loser, I am the winner. White people greedy.... I take your money and disappear.... You be the fool, I be the master."

The losses from this scam are in the billions! On August 6th 2007 the EEOC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) ran a sting operation in Nigeria and confiscated outbound mail for the US and UK. The operation produced startling discoveries of how criminal elements operating from the country ship fake documents and counterfeit financial instruments abroad. In several packages they found fraudulent identification and counterfeit financial instruments neatly concealed in carbon paper to evade the sensors of scanners.

In all, 15,129 counterfeit checks related to advance fee fraud scams were intercepted. They included 6,948 blank checks and others drawn for the sums of $145.9 million, Euro 211,077, 218.00, over two million Pounds Sterling and 120,450.00 Canadian dollars. So this is a major problem that shouldn't be ignored and written off as "something that happens to greedy fools".

In playing along with their scam and allowing them to send the check, only to realize they have wasted their time and money in doing so and perhaps makes them more leery of who they send the checks to. I've noticed that some of the ads I place on Craigslist receive no response. The Yahoo Boys have private websites where they post messages to one another regarding their own bad experience with victims and who to avoid.

I hope that in doing this I make them more leery of any ads for Washington State property rentals. I'm not crazy enough to believe I can end it, but as I said before, if I can just save a few from this scam it's worth my time. I haven't taken as much time or effort as it may seem; I often do it when I'm bored or need a break. Also, I can't lie; it's a bit fun at times.

 

 

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Show All Comments
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

I got two emails from a British Fossil Hunter named Vincent Daniel.  The first one sounded funny as it asked for details and photos that were already included in my craigslist ad.  The second email really made me suspicious so I decided to Google "British fossil hunter Vincent Daniel" and found your blog. Thanks for the information on the scam.  Here is a copy of the second email:

Hello,     Many thanks to your prompt response and brief details on this unit. I am indeed a potential tenant and serious about renting this unit. As a British Fossils hunter, Having discovered lots of Dinosaurs fossil such as Dinosaurs Megalosaurus ,Oviparous, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides, Velociraptor,plesiosaur, Ichthyosaurus etc. Am coming to state to Trade those fossils with some US Museums.       In view of my work schedule, I would want us to finalize basic arrangements. I'm and I am currently working with British Fossil hunters team on late 1880's Imperial Dinosaur Fossil Research in Manchester City. London UK . I will be in the states for the next two years during my stay I will be Trading dinosaur fossils with Some USA Museums and Research with some America Palaeontologist on fossils hunting and field work. Am willing to offer you 1month rent + the security deposit and utilities if any to secure this unit prior to my arrival to state, My Trustee in the states will be the one to handle the Move in fee, and we will instruct him to send you the check for this as soon as you give us the go ahead to make payment to you.      We can start the lease at your earliest convenient time and we will be effecting a two years lease although, I will be arriving on 5th May 2009. You can prepare the lease in my NAME.      Let me know how to move ahead as we intend to complete this deal before I move in by 5th May 2009, we will let you know the exact date as soon as we get a booking on a flight to the states. If you require any specific information, pals let me know or you can call me on my cell phone, please dial as presented for international calls .. +447506713896 }   P.S: Forward the lease agreement/application form to Review it ahead of time. I would eventually have it signed physically when I arrive. In my opinion, appending signatories should be done properly and at best physically. This is an international situation and am not sure how you can run my employment and Credit check background, there's no way we can go about this until I arrive in the state, hope you understand my concern.
With this arrangement, my Trustee in the states, will be effecting your payment deposit to you. I believe we can work together and ensure every arrangements that we shall both execute in line with my taking up the tenancy should be done accordingly to ensure we have a proper understanding.   For Payment, Get back with the below details 1- Name to be written on the American check
2- Mailing address ,City ,Zip Code ,State
3- Home Number and Mobile Number   Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.   V.Daniel,
+447506713896.

Apr 27, 2009 12:21 PM #175
Anonymous
Anonymous
Rich

I got two emails from a British Fossil Hunter named Vincent Daniel.  The first one sounded funny as it asked for details and photos that were already included in my craigslist ad.  The second email really made me suspicious so I decided to Google "British fossil hunter Vincent Daniel" and found your blog. Thanks for the information on the scam.  Here is a copy of the second email:

Hello,     Many thanks to your prompt response and brief details on this unit. I am indeed a potential tenant and serious about renting this unit. As a British Fossils hunter, Having discovered lots of Dinosaurs fossil such as Dinosaurs Megalosaurus ,Oviparous, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides, Velociraptor,plesiosaur, Ichthyosaurus etc. Am coming to state to Trade those fossils with some US Museums.       In view of my work schedule, I would want us to finalize basic arrangements. I'm and I am currently working with British Fossil hunters team on late 1880's Imperial Dinosaur Fossil Research in Manchester City. London UK . I will be in the states for the next two years during my stay I will be Trading dinosaur fossils with Some USA Museums and Research with some America Palaeontologist on fossils hunting and field work. Am willing to offer you 1month rent + the security deposit and utilities if any to secure this unit prior to my arrival to state, My Trustee in the states will be the one to handle the Move in fee, and we will instruct him to send you the check for this as soon as you give us the go ahead to make payment to you.      We can start the lease at your earliest convenient time and we will be effecting a two years lease although, I will be arriving on 5th May 2009. You can prepare the lease in my NAME.      Let me know how to move ahead as we intend to complete this deal before I move in by 5th May 2009, we will let you know the exact date as soon as we get a booking on a flight to the states. If you require any specific information, pals let me know or you can call me on my cell phone, please dial as presented for international calls .. +447506713896 }   P.S: Forward the lease agreement/application form to Review it ahead of time. I would eventually have it signed physically when I arrive. In my opinion, appending signatories should be done properly and at best physically. This is an international situation and am not sure how you can run my employment and Credit check background, there's no way we can go about this until I arrive in the state, hope you understand my concern.
With this arrangement, my Trustee in the states, will be effecting your payment deposit to you. I believe we can work together and ensure every arrangements that we shall both execute in line with my taking up the tenancy should be done accordingly to ensure we have a proper understanding.   For Payment, Get back with the below details 1- Name to be written on the American check
2- Mailing address ,City ,Zip Code ,State
3- Home Number and Mobile Number   Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.   V.Daniel,
+447506713896.

Apr 27, 2009 12:22 PM #176
Rainer
178,976
Billie Hillier
Hillier Real Estate - North Las Vegas, NV
Savvy Home Realty Solutions

I had a lady call me about my house that I am renting in VA. She said she wired $1,300 to "my husband who is a minister in Nigeria on a mission with his family" - fortunately she looked at the tax records and saw we are in LV, NV - NOT Nigeria and got my number from a neighbor. She sent me the emails and I am so surprised ANYONE couldn't tell it was a scam. AND when are the bank going to start helping clients "are you sure you want to send to Nigeria"

May 18, 2009 03:18 PM #177
Rainmaker
45,154
Michael Creel
InActive Agent - Bellevue, WA

The sad reality is that no matter how much effort people put into warning others of these scams, there will always be someone thats falls for them. There have been countless news reports, there are hundreds of websites, and still, people do it. There may very well have been people that did warn the lady, and she disregarded them.

The Nigerians know this all to well.

May 18, 2009 11:00 PM #178
Anonymous
Anonymous
Brie

Awsome Michael...thank you! I just ALMOST got scammed.....I think I am now going to try to outwit the scammer!

May 19, 2009 09:20 PM #179
Rainmaker
45,154
Michael Creel
InActive Agent - Bellevue, WA

Glad I could help Brie, makes me happy.

Click here to read more of my rental scam adventures!

       http://allreaders.net/rentalscam.html

May 20, 2009 03:00 AM #180
Anonymous
Anonymous
Appreciative

Man, wish I'd thought to look for this site yesterday.

 

I actually got the opposite version of this scam - I was looking for a property to rent and received an email telling me that as a first-time landlord and missionary in Africa, the owner of the property somehow couldn't find a real estate agent to handle rentals, and so would personally need my information and, I'm assuming would have requested X amount in payment before never providing me with a key to the property.

 

I pretty much saw it was a scam as soon as I read "missionary in Africa" so I ended communications with an admittedly juvenile email calling them out and asking them to remain just as stupid as they were so that they would be easy to spot as scammers in the future.

 

Now after looking up these types of scams, I wish I'd taken the time to take the whole thing farther.

 

Thanks for posting these scams and your responses to them. They're extremely amusing to read.

Jun 13, 2009 02:25 PM #181
Anonymous
Anonymous
elias

WARNING SCAMMER ON CRAIGLIST ---- MONEY WAS WITHDRAW IN ORANGE CA and ROCHESTER NY!!!!

I have found info about apart in NY in Craiglist. Terry Coleman of Terry Vacation Homes sent me description of flat and contract to sign. I have sent it back with deposit 50% that was sent by bank transfer on 06/04/09 to account 1177308390 of woodforest bank to Mr Jason Matthew Wade. second payment was asked by Money Gram and it was sent. After receiving the second payment the person is desappeared and he does not answer to mail or phone. the name appears in some scammers list on the internet.

I have payed the first 1900 USD to the following bank account as asked by the scammer: Bank name:Woodforest National Bank; Full name :Jason Matthew Wade; Account Number: 1177308390  Account Holders address:157 LaGrange Avenue, Rochester, NY 14613; Bank address:456 WEST 25TH STREET NEW YORK ,NY 10001 USA

The Money Gram Payment has been received in ORANGE California as confirmed by central office of Money Gram which has made a research on his database.

Jun 24, 2009 03:48 PM #182
Rainmaker
205,213
Emcee M. Arah
Remax Excellence - Silver Spring, MD - Silver Spring, MD
Realtor w/Architectural Dimension, CRS, CDPE, CIAS

Thanks Michael for all effort to warn the AR community and consumers at large of these Scammers. GREAT JOB WITH ONE EXCEPTION. It is very unfair to single out Nigerians and slanderous ("The Nigerians know this all too well") to the huge country of Nigeria as if the majority of it's people are criminals or Scammers. if you have not met many of the decent, trustworthy and hardworking Nigerians either living in Nigeria or around the world including the U.S.A, I hope that you'll make effort to broaden your perspective about Nigeria and it's population of about one hundred million people. Please don't 'paint with a broad brush' when discussing an infinitecimal segment of a large population of people.

As a Nigerian-American Realtor that also receives these annoying scam e-mails as a consumer and potential target/victim, I am equally appualled that the blessed country of my birth is tainted by such scams. Since these Scam e-mails originate from many parts of the world, all of us need to be objective as we report them to law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution.

Kudos to you, Michael and others like you including Chris Hanson of NBC News, for the tireless effort to expose these losers and save some of us from falling prey to their scams.

Jul 06, 2009 01:42 AM #183
Anonymous
Anonymous
Creel

Obviously the scam isn't confined to Nigeria or Nigerians, any more than the cocaine problem is confined to Mexico, or Columbia. However, it is their dominating crime problem. I've considered visiting Nigeria, but in all honesty I would be concerned for my safety.

Many of the scam emails come from Hong Kong, or the UK. The Nigerian emails have a style unique to them, so I can usually tell what nationality generated the mail. Since the email text is re-used to often. its impossible to know who last sent it, unless I engage them in conversation; which I often do.

I've built an entire website dedicated to the scams, you can visit it at allscams.us.

Jul 09, 2009 09:58 PM #184
Anonymous
Anonymous
johnson

They do a very similar scam for tutors. I was contacted through craigslist with a scam almost identical to this. The dialogue was almost exactly the same, but instead it was focused on tutoring a child. Luckily, I found this blog and didnt get too deep in the scam. So, thank you!!!!

Jul 12, 2009 01:41 PM #185
Anonymous
Anonymous
m72

 When I post a add on Craigslist this is what i state at the bottom of the page:

 i HAVEA ROOM FOR RENT IN HOUSTON FOR $600.00.........

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

  NO PRE-PAY/ONLY US RESIDENTS

 

  RENT MONEY WILL ONLY BE ACCEPTED ON MOVE IN DAY.

 

 

 

"this has helped get rid of most  all the scammer emails.They are very easy to detect and are way to willing to send their money away to a complete stranger"

Jul 17, 2009 02:06 AM #186
Rainer
21,528
San Diego Homes.org
San Diego Real Estate - San Diego, CA

We have been seeing this in many markets. These guys certainly are creative and persistent.

Jul 18, 2009 01:07 PM #187
Anonymous
Anonymous
Squeaker

I Thank You for the info.  I had a rental property on CL and recieved an email from johnporter2000@googlemail.com  Told me he was a doctor at UK London hospital, coming to states with wife for 1 yr., even sent a web site address for the REAL doctor. I thought it was to good to be true,I did my own research and found email address off hospital web site and wrote email to him. I got a reply from the real doctor, he was not amused.  

After reading this blog I find so many simular phrases in the wording that these scammers us.  I wish CL would have this site linked to there housing site.  Thanks Again

Jul 21, 2009 11:54 PM #188
Anonymous
Anonymous
Kap Hiroti sucks

Another internet scam (sort of) has a 604 number attached to it in particular: 6043230623

This is the number on the website of a seller who re-sells foreclosure lists. You can get these yourself for $8 to file and $1/page. And typically for profit you don't need the entire thing. It's a bit of a ripoff at $99 a month IMHO.

Aug 13, 2009 01:37 AM #189
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank you for this posting.  I recieved an email request for one of my rentals.  I had a feeling this was not right, and after doing a search I found your site.  Thank you for the heads up!

Aug 13, 2009 11:16 AM #190
Anonymous
Anonymous
cdt

 

I received this email after inquiring about a job opportunity where you "work from home".  The email was sent from Connie Anne Hum (shongatz@hotmail.com). After searching her email, your site came up which raised some red flags.  I emailed "Connie" back with this information and she has yet to respond...odd.

 

A & B Rentals is a company for renting and buying properties abroad. Our 5 agents in 3 countries act as the driving force of our company. The company is growing dynamically and its formation is ongoing. At this particular moment we are expanding our business area and increasing the number of property units in our database. For this reason, we are widening our network of real estate agents. Duties: 1). Receiving rent payments from US customers. 2). Process Payments/cheques received from US customers. 3). Deduct 10% which will be your Commission/pay on Payment processed. 4). Sending rent payments to Landlords as you will be instructed. Salary Includes: 1). $1,000 per month. First salary you get after 30 days from the day you start working. 2). 10% from each received rent payment same day you receive it (cashiers checks or money orders). 1-5 Rent payments per week.. Amount of one rent payment: $1500-5000. Requirements: 1). US work authorization. 2). US residential address. 3). Computer knowledge is a plus. *We do not require an active agent license. *We do not require your bank information. We are sure this work will be interesting and simple for you. The greatest advantage of this position is its remote character and the possibility of spending only few hours a day working while earning a base $12,000 per year plus your commissions (up to $20,000 per year). To complete this stage of your job placement, get back to me with the below details: First Name Middle Name Last Name Address Line 1 (No.P.O.Box) Address Line 2 City State Zip Code Age Home Phone Cell Phone Email Address Present Occupation (If any) Best time to call

Aug 20, 2009 12:04 PM #191
Anonymous
Anonymous
Andi at SafeList

Incredible, I can't believe this scam just keeps happening - and getting worse, even. We just posted a story to our blog today about someone who has been making payments for two years towards the PURCHASE of a house he found on craigslist... only to have it taken right out from under him in a foreclosure. Turned out the "owner" posted it to craigslist without actually owning it!! We're regularly posting stories on our blog of rental scams and other scams facilitated by anonymous classifieds sites - we'd invite anyone here to submit their story too! http://www.safelist.com/blog

Oct 19, 2009 03:04 PM #192
Anonymous
Anonymous
jeremy hodkinson

can some oe tell me if this is a scam and if they have heard of this before ?

email...

Pleasure in hearing from you,i really appreciate it and I'm okay with the condition of the room. I will like to inform you that i will be shipping some of my luggage's like  my art design and bedroom frames with my stored research profile desktop and Laptop computer and my car ( 2007 MAZDA CX-7 GS AWD  MODEL ) that my Organization bought for me for work,due to my job am very busy preparing for my trip.so i will like to inform you that i will Transfer the money for the shipment with the money for the rent to your account,so as soon as i get the money transferred you have to deduct the money for the reservation and send the rest to the shipper so the shippers will come to deliver my stuffs.I will really appreciate you if you can do this for me.i will inform you as soon as i get the money transferred to your account.
Pleasure reading from you soonest.

Oct 20, 2009 12:44 PM #193
Rainmaker
45,154
Michael Creel
InActive Agent - Bellevue, WA

Because a few desperate morons continue to post ad's for scam products I strongly suggest you never purchase, I will have to disable comments on this post. Hopefully, one day AR will find a way to prevent this idiocy.

Nov 05, 2009 08:04 PM #194
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Rainmaker
45,154

Michael Creel

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