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 Possible rental scam! First timer here. NEED HELPPPP!!!!

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caramelcone
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 13


PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi all,

I'm located in Singapore. Couple of days ago, I put up an ad in a accomodation website, and I received an email below from a guy, whom I edited the name, just in case it is legitimate.

But I do have my suspicions. As the deal definitely too good to be true!


Below are the emails that have been going on..

From: the scammer

If you are still looking for a room, it is because you have not heard of mine. I have two rooms for rent in my apartment. My apartment is located in Upper Circular Road, Riverwalk Apartments Precisely, In Singapore City Center and Two Minutes walk from the Clarke Quay MRT. If you are still looking for a room, do let me know


From me
Can you tell me more details about the rooms?
such as price, whats included (PUB, internet, etc), attached bathroom... ?

Thanks!


Scammer:
Hi,

Thanks for your response. The rooms are still available and the address of my apartment is:

RiverWalk Apartments
20 Upper Circular Road,
Singapore 058416
Singapore
Block B, Apartment # 02-02

You can search the location on Google Map ( www.maps.google.com ) and check if it fits.

I stay alone in the apartment at present. It is not as though I am always lonely but flatmates come and go. My last flatmate was from China and she is such a good person. She moved out last weeks because she finished her schooling. We still keep in touch though Smile We had been flatmates for one year while I was renting the third room once in a while. Smile So I am not new to flatmating and most times, I meet my flatmates online through sites like this. I am the only child of my parents and they(My Parents) are in London.

The apartment is a three bedroom apartment/Condo and the two rooms are available for both immediate and later move in.The rooms have a heating/Cooling system, a bath tub, a central table, a reading desk, Wardrobe, A big bed that can sleep three persons, Internet connection ( BROADBAND- with wireless router), Phone cord in rooms, access to the fully fitted kitchen,Car Park; fellow flatmates are entitled to their own visitors and they can stay the night only when I am earlier informed Smile The rent is 1000SGD while you would pay a refundable security deposit of 1600SGD. This deposit would be refunded to you at the end of your stay as this is the normal procedure everywhere. The rooms and the apartment has been furnished to modern Standard.

The balcony entrance opens onto the living area offering a cosy sofa, a dinning table for 4 guests and a well equipped open-space kitchen corner. There is air-conditioning and wooden floors throughout the apartment and tile in the bathroom floors.My apartment is located in Singapore City Center and is just two minutes walk to the MRT. The area has many recreational areas and park and access to pubs and supermarkets. The nearest MRT is the Clarke Quay

I should have done this earlier but I think it is still okay: My Name is XXX.I am 27years old French Male. My Mother owns the apartment and it is a private apartment. I like reading, listening to music,Swimming and also like going to the cinemas when I have the time. I am a calm and easygoing person.

If you have any more inquiries and questions, let me know and I would be more than glad to respond.

Thanks,



I was quite surprised by his reply. Usually, no owner will go great length at telling who they are and what their hobbies. Mostly, they will just arrange for viewing. I was quite taken aback by his friendliness. But I wasnt suspicious of him yet.


My reply:

Hi,

Thanks for the comprehensive info below.. Smile

Your place sounds lovely..

Anyway, I'm just wondering why you require $1600 deposit, as far as I know, most people only require one month rental as a deposit. It's a bit high for our budget at the moment. To tell you the truth, we are planning our wedding as well in this coming January. So we need that extra fund, if you don't mind. Smile

(some general infos abt me... )

We are interested in viewing your place, but unfortunately my fiancee is overseas right now, so we can only view next week. Probably Friday night or Saturday. Will that be alright?

Thanks!!!





Scammer:

Dear,

I apologize for the delay in response. I was on my way to London.How are you doing?.. I have now scanned and attached with this email, the pictures of my apartment and also of the rooms. The rooms are all the same and have the same amenities and facilities..

The rooms, like I said earlier, has it's own bathroom and toilet for private use. The living room is a part of the living room where you can have guest and also relax when we don't want to stay in the Living room. The other parts of the apartment are also attached for you to see... Even the Laundry room and about the cleaning of the house, there is a cleaner who comes to the house to do the cleaning every day...

The Little room is more like the living room but in a smaller dimension. It is a place where we can relax and also entertain visitors. The room I am renting is the one tagged The Bedroom. The third room might be used as a guest room for my visitors and also your visitors as well.

The rent is 1000SGD while the security deposit is 1600SGD but my Mom says u can pay 1000SGD for the deposit as well.

For us to proceed, there has to be a tenement agreement document which would confirm us as flatmates and also would be a guideline for our living as flatmates. For this document to be prepared, do get back to me with:

- Your move in date
- Your planned move out date ( or Contract period); this period can be either extended or terminated.
- Your address for me to send you your keys to your room and the apartment, your rent receipt and also your rent document.
- Your scanned ID/Passport for Identification.

Once my lawyer gets these details, the contract shall be prepared and then the next step would be for You to sign on the the contract confirming that you have reserved the room and also make payment to my mother and this payment would have to be made before you move in.

I wait to read from you soonest with these details so that we can proceed to been flatmates.You can also add me on [email protected]

Thanks,


This is when I started to get suspicious.

1. The use of lawyer. I had been renting condos/rooms etc for the last 10 years of my life, never once we need to use lawyer. And I have to supply my infos first before anything happening.

2. He is asking for my ID. I have a common practice where I dont give my ID to anyone I dont know thru online.

3. When I view the pics of the apartment, holy cow, it is breathtaking. For a place in that area with that kind of rental fee, definitely too low. And as I look further at the pics, they are like straight from IKEA catalog. With perfect lightings, and nothing is out of place. The kitchen for example, there is nothing there except the streaking clean appliances.

4. He said he has a cleaner that comes everyday to clean. Which is a very unusual practice in Singapore.

5. He asked for my address to send the keys etc. So it means I wont be able to see him personally? That gets me even more suspicious.

From me:
Hi,

Oh you are in London now. For holiday? When are you coming back to Singapore?

Thanks


Scammer:
No, I am not here on Holidays, I am here for a training course.

When do you want to move in and are you new in Singapore?


Notice that he kept avoiding when we can set date to view the place.

From me:
I'm planning to move in on Dec. When can we view the place?


Scammer:

You may go see the house. Although there is nobody there, you can still have a first hand experience of the apartment when you get to the Riverwalk apartments.

I do not think I would be back before December so that means I would be sending you the keys from here.

Do get back to me with your contract details so that the contract can be prepared,


Me:
Thanks for the prompt reply.

I'm a bit unclear here, so I hope you can fill me in. Do you mean that I have to give you payment first before we can get the keys to view your place?



Scammer:

Before any payments can be received, We need to proceed to the contract so that we can be clear about all situations and when we have agreed to the contract, we can then proceed to the payments and then I shall send you the keys.

Please send me your contract details so that I can send it to my family lawyer and then we can proceed to the contract and I shall send it to you via email for your perusal.

I hope you understand now and since I am not i Singapore now, we need a security and the contract is a good security...

Waiting to read from you soonest with contract details so we can proceed,

Flatmate,

YXXX


Now he's using 'flatmate' as a sign off.. lol. Btw notice that he keeps insisting me to provide my details.

Anyway, maybe some of u are aware of rental scams that are happening now. I did some google search after YXXX contacted me, and yes, I found some scams where the owner claimed to be overseas, thus all contacts, payments etc have to made online. Then he will send the keys once deposit has been done. But keys never arrived.

So... I'm very suspicious abt this one. Anyone can help me to 'play' or dig some more stuff from this guy?

Thanks!!!
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Pisspot
Not quite a Newb


Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 53
Location: U.K.


PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sounds very suspicious. If you are actually in Singapore at the moment go along and look at the apartment. You may find that someone else is actually living there and they have never heard of this 'flatmate'.

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caramelcone
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 13


PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yep... I just sent an email to him, asking if his lawyer is in Spore. I said we dont mind to go straight to the lawyer since we dont want to trouble the scammer who is currently in London... hehe..

and, guess what. I was contacted by another rental scammer. This time I can reveal his name coz I've checked it through and found out that he posted the same ad, using the same apartment pics, .... but this time that same apartment is in Dublin. How stupid these people can be?... His name is Jeff Cumberledge. You can google him.

Here are the emails:

Jeff:
A 2 bedroom apartment with close links to leisure places,malls and Dover MRT Stations.The rent is SGD1000 monthly and with a month security deposit which is refundable at the end of your stay.The flat enjoys the benefit of the roof terrace which provides panoramic views across the Streets.The property consists of two bedrooms with double bed, fitted wardrobes, fully equipped kitchen,2 bathroom with power shower cubicle, basin and W.C. A reception room has modern decorations with two comfy leather sofas, coffee table,TV.DVD,Hi Fi System and Broadband.The two bedroom flat is with wooden floors, fitted kitchen, two lifts, parking available, balcony.Fenced yard, shed and lots of storage space and floored attic. Small pets allowed.


Me:

Can I have your contact number so that I can call you for further enquiries?


Jeff:
Okay but i would require referees and a guarantee that you would be able to pay the rent at each month.The apartment is at 37 dover rise.The maximum stay is 3 months,the kitchen has cutleries and there would be no need coming with one.A month rent with a month security deposit has to be paid to prepare agreements and receipt of payment.Am an architect and i designed the room myself.Feel free to call me on +85281777616 cause am presently doing a project in Hong kong at the moment.Let me know if you re okay with that.
Thanks.


Me:
It's a pity that the max stay is only 3 months. We are actually looking for long term stay, abt 1 year lease. So, I'm afraid that the place won't be suitable for us. Thank you so much for your offer.

PS: The place looks beautiful btw. Smile


Jeff:
Sorry,was trying to type minimum,my computer keypad re hard this time.


(HAHA!! What a lousy excuse....)

Me:

Hi Jeff,

In that case, when will you be available? We would like to view the place.
FYI, my husband is overseas right now, he will be back next week. So we can visit your place probably on next saturday...

Btw, does the rental include PUB, internet and phone line?

Thanks!


Jeff:

Yes,rent is inclusive of bills like electricity,water,internet,gas,internet and gabbage disposal.I should be arround over the weekend.Thanks for your response.


(Btw there is no such thing as a garbage disposal fee in Singapore)

Me:

Hi Jeff,

Are you still in Hong Kong? Can we arrange viewing for this weekend?

Thanks!


Jeff:

Have been receiving calls from different people lately.I got pissed this morning with a caller pleading for deduction,i understand is not easy to make money but they should be considerate also.If you re really in haste i could send you keys to the place upon a deposit into my account cause the job is really talking my time.If its okay let me know.
Thanks.



Me:
Sorry for your unpleasant experience.

So do I have to send you deposit first before we can get the keys to view the place? What if we dont like it? Do we have to send the keys back to you in Hong Kong?


So, I'm thinking of getting him to send me his ID before I send him my 'deposit' Very Happy

Any other smart suggestion from fellow eaters?

//UPDATE:

Just received his reply:
With the nature of my work,am sure you wld like it and you wont want to let go.

Lol.. overconfident lad...
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Dya Reyarunen-Downmeleg
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Joined: 10 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Whenever the "owner" or agent is unable to meet with you to show you the place it's a scam. If the keys will be sent to you it's most definitely a scam. Almost always a google search on the address will show the place to be for sale and the real estate ad will be pretty much copied in the rental ad by the scammer.

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solomongrundy
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Joined: 07 Sep 2004
Posts: 209


PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
A big bed that can sleep three persons


I'd take a very dim view of that Shocked .
Is he expecting a threesome with you and your fiancee?

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caramelcone
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 13


PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@fartina:
Yeah I'm pretty much convinced now that YXXX is a scammer. Would like to play along with him too. Suggestions are welcome!!!

@solomongrundy:
lol.. I let my friend, whom a real estate agent in Singapore, to read all his emails. He was laughing his head off. The deal was too ridiculous and why would there be a heating system/fireplace in hot and humid Singapore!!!.. lol...

I think I will have fun with these two... Very Happy
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Crazy Cat Lady
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Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 3


PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hmm..

I may be an uber noob here, but if they have your real information, you should walk away.
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Tsnerd
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Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 41


PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Conversation has been moved here:
http://forum.419eater.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=173964

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