Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Update on West Africa House for Rent Scam

Wow! Since I wrote the original post about the house for rent scam that seems to originate in West Africa and proliferate on Craigslist, I've gotten a huge response from people.

So many people are getting similar emails about great sounding houses. And so many people are being smart! They're Googling the email and have hit this site before shelling out any money. That's great.

The update on this house renting scam is that it's still going strong. And going smart, too. Apparently the scammers are clever enough to search real estate websites, grab some pictures and descriptions and use that information with the address. That way if you drive by the home, it looks authentic and probably has a real estate sign outside of it. In fact, I discovered after the fact that "my" original scammer had set up an email address using the name of the listing realtor so it would match the name on the sign!

So, I reiterate: RENTER BEWARE. If it sounds too good to be true, you're asked to wire a deposit and/or provide a whole lot of info via email, trust your instincts.

Just the other day, I responded to another listing on Craigslist for a house in my area and got this email back:
hello dear
It is a great pleasure that to you are interested in my house.Thanks for
your email and it is my gladness to hear from you.I am debbie
i am the owner of the house you are making enquiry of. Actually I
resided in the house with my family,such as my wife and my only
daugther before and presently we had packed due to my transfer from my working place and now situated in the (West Africa Nigeria) and presently my house s still available for rent $1200 including the utilities like hydro,washerand security,it is furnised.Moreso Now, i went for a Crusade in the West Africa .Pls i want you to note that,i am a kind and honest man and also i spent alot on my property that i want to give you for rent,so i will solicit for your absolute mentenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own,is that taken,it is not the money the main problem but want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for a check up.i do that once in a while.I
also want you to let me have trust in you as i always stand on my

Also,Pls let me get this answer.
1)Your Full Name
2)Your Full Address & Phone Number
3)How old are you?
4)Are you married?
5)How many people will be living in the house?
6)Do you have a pet?
7)Do you have a car?

Looking forward to hear from yo u with all this details so that i can
have it in my file incase of issuing the receipt for you and contacting
you. Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the
document and the key to you,please we are giving you all this base on
trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that,we do not see yet and only putting everything into Gods hand,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do call my cell phone number +234-808-811-5817 oR 234-011-808-811-5817.
Thanks and you are welcome

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beware of West Africa House for Rent Scam

Just a quick note to all of you out there who are looking for a home to rent. We found a great ad on our local Craigslist for a house to rent. It seemed a little too good to be true, but we decided to send an email back just in case. Well, let me tell you, when I got an email back from the "landlord" the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. Wouldn't yours? Here's what this upstanding citizen had to say (and, in fact, sent as a reply TWICE):
hello ,
Thanks for the email. I sherry williams Matthew own of the3 bedroom apartment . and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer that makes me and my wife to leave the house. and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it .the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in west Africa, our new house and also with the keys of the house, we try to look for an agent that we can give this documents.I and my wife came over to West Africa for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us to take very good care of the house. So get back to me on .how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home. Hope you are okay with the price of US$700(4 months first payment) with hydro,heat laundry facilities, air condition and so on. I am looking forward to hear from you . so that talk about the application. to fill out and discuss on how to get the house for rent,my number +2348029442013 you can call me ,this the address of the apertment ___________Street, Bangor ME 04401 back to me immediately ,
thanks God bless

After a quick Google search, I found that this is pretty common right now. I actually found that someone else had posted the EXACT same response email as a warning! So, renter beware. If they won't meet with you, ask for lots of money up front and aren't real good with the English-- c'mon, missionaries speak pretty well, don't they?--please don't fall for it. Report to the abuse at Craiglist email.

As I was writing this, I received an email back from Craigslist--listing has been removed. Power to the the observant people!

Friday, January 18, 2008