Apartment Rental Scam  » Scam  »
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  • Upon finding myself in need of a roommate on short notice recently, I decided to place a free classified ad to share my large luxury apartment on Craigslist

    • by shira
      all reviews
      Upon finding myself in need of a roommate on short notice recently, I decided to place a free classified ad to share my large luxury apartment on Craigslist. com, since it’s a well-known, high traffic site. I gave as good of a description as I could of the living arrangements and what I was offering, made sure to include the monthly rental fee, and made mention of the rental agreement I was requiring. After a few minutes the ad posted to the site, and I went on my way, hoping I’d get a decent response and be able to find someone to share my apartment with in order to keep the rent affordable.

      The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find two responses to my ad: one from someone that didn’t quite seem like a good match with me, and one from a young British woman in search of housing prior to assignment from her job, which was bringing her to the U. S. I quickly replied to the woman, answering all of her questions and providing all of the information she was looking for.

      They all seemed like perfectly reasonable questions from someone looking to relocate, so at this point I was not suspicious that this was anything other than a legitimate housing inquiry. I’d checked the website of the company she said

      she worked for, and everything mentioned about where she was now, and where she was from, etc… seemed to make sense. She said she was a geophysicist, so by this point I was thinking I’d have a nice, professional roommate.

      The email that came in return a few minutes later was very positive, and I had thought I’d found someone to share my apartment with, however, this is the point at which I started to notice things were a little off-track. The woman was already offering to pay me, and not just a security deposit, but for the entire year. She asked for my mailing address, as she wanted to send US Money Orders to secure the apartment, but did not address the requests I made in my original reply for professional and housing references before I was willing to just simply rent to her.

      I replied a second time requesting her references once more, and added the instruction to deposit the security deposit and first month’s rent into my PayPal account if she was serious, while I checked those references. I instructed that once I was satisfied with the reference checks I would notify her how much the rest of the year’s rent was if she still wished to pay ahead, and if I was not satisfied with the references I would ...

      • refuse the payment, thus canceling her deposit to me. Then, upon sending that second reply off, I received a third email in response to my ad, and suddenly things started sounding very familiar.

        It was from another British woman, this time a model living in South Africa and coming to the US for a year, wishing to pay for a year’s worth of accommodations in advance. At this point I realized that I had probably just been scammed, and that it was unlikely I’d be hearing back from the first woman. Another reply never came, and I’m sure it was because instead of just replying with my mailing address as requested, I had asked for funds to be sent to me as a deposit, which is the opposite of the way these scammers operate.

        One of the ways the scam works is like this: Your mailing address is requested so that US Money Orders can be sent to you, in the amount you specify. In actuality what you are sent are bad money orders or checks, and for a higher amount than requested. What the scammer is hoping will happen is that you will, right away, return to them the overpayment as soon as the money orders are deposited into your account and before they can clear your bank, revealing that they are


        What happens at that point is that the money is removed from your account since the money orders are no good, so you really got nothing from the scammer, PLUS you’ve already sent them a return with YOUR MONEY for the overpayment that was sent to hook you. Hopefully most people who have ever come across this scheme, or who will in the future, will be too smart for it, but it wouldn’t be a scam if there were not some people out there that have been taken by it. Incidentally too, by the end of the day, I’d received a total of 7 more emails, all from British women who were working in some other foreign country and looking to come to the US for a year for their job.

        Most all of them offered immediate prepayment of the yearly rental fee, and most also mentioned that a boss or ‘former boss’ would be paying the rent as payment for some back monies owed. Each one did mention having been employed by a large company, and a real one at that. Be careful, apartment renters! Check references! Ask for a deposit first, and don’t give someone your mailing address before you’ve had a chance to fully check them out! Hopefully this review has been helpful and at least keeps a few more people from being scammed.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in October, 2006. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 6051096661031/k2311a105/10.5.06
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