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 House rental scam

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Buddy Holly
Not quite a Newb


Joined: 03 Apr 2010
Posts: 22
Location: Suffragette City


PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:20 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry if this has been posted before, but this type of scam was completely new to me. Luckily, it was suspicious enough I sent no money or information.

To summarize: I am moving soon to a new state, and found an ad on Craigslist that seemed perfect, cheap rent, although admittedly it was a bit too good to be true. Here's the craigslist ad for the house. Seems pretty straightforward, and a few misspellings, but I thought nothing of it at the time.

http://odessa.craigslist.org/apa/1671455199.html

So not wanting to miss the opportunity, I wrote the person, whose email was provided, as in the ad, and asked for more info. What I got back was the email I have posted in its entirety below. As you can see, the tone of the email is quite odd, explaining certain things that a renter wouldn't necessarily need to know. Also nothing specific about the property AND they go out of their way to say "just ignore the for sale signs in the yard." Most importantly, the phone number country code is from Nigeria, not South Africa. I went into this never even considering it was a scam, and while I included my phone number in my original email, I never gave them any other info, so I think it should be fine. Anyway, the email in the craigslist ad - [email protected] is what they sent the below message from.

Clearly, they have copied pictures from a real estate site and fabricated this story - quite ingenious, but hopefully no one will actually follow through with sending them money and expecting them to "mail the keys."

Edit: I should add that after much searching, I think the homeowners' name was actually correct, and clearly something they found online. Thus, this is quite a sophisticated scam in this regard.

The full email I received:


Hi,

My Name is Engineer/Pastor James Morris I did get your response concerning the AD I posted on craigslist. The house is still available but presently I'm not around. I did had a contract in RSA ( Republic of South Africa) for building and supervising of stadiums and some other infrastructure that is needed to put in place for the 2010 FIFA world cup which will be taking place in South Africa . I will be there for about 2 yrs after the competition. I came over here with my wife, we both bought the house when we got married. As soon as we settle down here I had a thought of selling the house so I have to look for an agent, after getting one, we got a deal but later my wife advised against that.If you drive by you can still notice a forsale sign their but dont worry i have already told the real estates agent to take it off from the property cos it is not for sale anymore but for rent. She said we may not be able to win the bidding next time, in other to keep our head when we return that we have to keep the house.. I reasoned with her and accepted her advise. So I contacted the agent back and requested for my keys and documents. Later we decided to have the house rent out, we would have give the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later and i noticed he even inflated money on the rent of the house,Now you can see why i dont want to use a third party. If you notice, you will discovered that the price we are offering is far below standard price, this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property. I know there is no way I can be sure that you are the right person to live in the house because we won't be able to see physical before sending you the keys and the documents to occupy the space. But I just had a feeling that anyone who knows what it takes to put the kind of structure down should know that maintaining a building is mandatory, will like you to go take a look at the exterior part of the house if you like to feel how it looks like because you will not be able to go inside to see the interior hence I have all the keys and security code here with me and everything will be sent to you as soon we come to an agreement. You can get back to me if you are truly interested. Below are the specifications.. So if you belief you can take good care of the house and handle it like yours then I will be more than happy to let you rent the house.Also i need someone who can be able to secure the property now even if is not ready to move in asap.

Please if you are ready now to occupy the house kindly provide the information below for record purpose

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Full Name__________________________________________________ Home Phone ( )________________________
Date of Birth_________________________________
Cell Phone ( )___________________
Current Address_______________________________Apt#________ City__________________ State______ Zip________
Reasons for Leaving____________________________Rent $__________Phone ( )____________________________
Are you married____________________________
How many people will be living in the house____________________________
How many people will be living in the house____________________________
Do you have a pet____________________________
Do you have a car____________________________
Occupation____________________________
How soon can you have the deposit payment sent to me_________________________
How soon do you want to receive the keys________________________________________
Move In Date____________________________

Address: 50 Emerald Forest Ct, Odessa TX 79762

RENTAL FEATURES
Features
Air conditioning Walk-in closet Tile floor
Family room Living room Dining room
Refrigerator Stove/Oven Microwave
Dryer Laundry area - garage Yard
Cable-ready High-speed internet
COMMUNITY FEATURES
Garage parking

Rent 900 Deposit:$700
Best Regards
James Morris

YOU CAN REACH ME ON THE NUMBERS BELOW
+234-702-971-4311 or dial 011-234-702-971-4311
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Raga Man
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Joined: 04 Sep 2009
Posts: 2879
Location: In a gloomy castle on a lonely hill


PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to the eater, BH4! It seems clear to me that this scammer will ask someone for the deposit (and whatever other fees they can con out of them) and then never send the keys - because the don't have them. I think you are exactly right - the scammer found a home for sale and is posing as the owner offering it for rent.

Why not approach the scammer from a new, secure email address and bait hell out of him. Twisted Evil I am sure the good folks on this site would be happy to lend their expertise.

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Ima Baeder
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Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 18270


PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to Eater! I'm glad to hear you didn't fall for the scam.

There are a lot of these types of scams posted on our sister site, ScamWarners.com. Look on the forum there in the "Auctions and online selling" subforum.

The way we've been seeing this scam playing out is that the scammer asks you to prove that you have the money by sending a WU payment to a friend or family member (not to him) and then sending him the receipt as evidence. He then picks up the payment. The BBC has been doing stories on this recently and Michelle at ScamWarners is our resident expert.

Here's a link to a BBC article from 2008, they have had more stories recently but I don't have a link handy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7648092.stm
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Juan Freizwidatt
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Here's another BBC link from a couple of days ago:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/nottinghamshire/8595861.stm

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Buddy Holly
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Joined: 03 Apr 2010
Posts: 22
Location: Suffragette City


PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

thanks for the resources and advice. Definitely seems worthwhile to use a new email and string these people along for a while. It will be interesting to see if they use the same procedures as those from the BBC article.

I guess they are trying this in fairly rural areas in the U.S. because people in those areas are less likely to suspect something bad, especially under the ruse of being a pastor.

I mostly hate to think that the homeowner likely doesn't know this is even occurring. I tried to find their info, but couldn't, but I guess there's not much they could do either.
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mrquincy2010
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 04 Apr 2010
Posts: 1


PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:08 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi,

My Name is Engineer/Pastor Alfred Wilson I did get your response concerning the AD I posted on craigslist. The house is still available but presently I'm not around. I did had a contract in RSA ( Republic of South Africa) for building and supervising of stadiums and some other infrastructure that is needed to put in place for the 2010 FIFA world cup which will be taking place in South Africa . I will be there for about 2 yrs after the competition. I came over here with my wife, we both bought the house when we got married. As soon as we settle down here I had a thought of selling the house so I have to look for an agent, after getting one, we got a deal but later my wife advised against that.If you drive by you can still notice a forsale sign their but dont worry i have already told the real estates agent to take it off from the property cos it is not for sale anymore but for rent. She said we may not be able to win the bidding next time, in other to keep our head when we return that we have to keep the house.. I reasoned with her and accepted her advise. So I contacted the agent back and requested for my keys and documents. Later we decided to have the house rent out, we would have give the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later and i noticed he even inflated money on the rent of the house,Now you can see why i dont want to use a third party. If you notice, you will discovered that the price we are offering is far below standard price, this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property. I know there is no way I can be sure that you are the right person to live in the house because we won't be able to see physical before sending you the keys and the documents to occupy the space. But I just had a feeling that anyone who knows what it takes to put the kind of structure down should know that maintaining a building is mandatory, will like you to go take a look at the exterior part of the house if you like to feel how it looks like because you will not be able to go inside to see the interior hence I have all the keys and security code here with me and everything will be sent to you as soon we come to an agreement. You can get back to me if you are truly interested. Below are the specifications.. So if you belief you can take good care of the house and handle it like yours then I will be more than happy to let you rent the house.Also i need someone who can be able to secure the property now even if is not ready to move in asap.
Please if you are ready now to occupy the house kindly provide the information below for record purpose
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Full Name__________________________________________________ Home Phone ( )________________________
Date of Birth_________________________________
Cell Phone ( )___________________
Current Address_______________________________Apt#________ City__________________ State______ Zip________
Reasons for Leaving____________________________Rent $__________Phone ( )____________________________
Are you married____________________________
How many people will be living in the house____________________________
How many people will be living in the house____________________________
Do you have a pet____________________________
Do you have a car____________________________
Occupation____________________________
How soon can you have the deposit payment sent to me_________________________
How soon do you want to receive the keys________________________________________
Move In Date____________________________

Address: 11 Shelly Ct, Lynchburg VA 24501
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Corona
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@ mrquincy2010 - Welcome.

It would be of help to me if you would post the scammers e-mail address.

The format may be the same as the other but Room for Rent scammers change their e-mail address every few days to avoid detection.

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