Bay Area’s popular web listing service www.craigslist.org has, once again, become a place for scammers. This time it is through “apartments for rent” section. The scheme is simple. The person posts low-priced listing for a 1 bedroom apartment, include the address of the property and only the email as a contact info. The person interested replies and then initiates a chain of email conversations which always follows pretty much the same script. It goes something like this: ” I am the owner of the apartment. I got sent away to work in (England) and looking for rent out my place to someone who will take good care of it. Blah Blah Blah.. Send the money via Western Union or Money Gram..” No phone calls. No viewing. No meeting in person.
Here are some of the latest examples.
$575 / 1br – 900ft² – Apartments 101 W Weddell Dr, Sunnyvale CA 94089 (sunnyvale)
Date: 2011-11-06, 10:29AM PST
Reply to: email@example.com [Errors when replying to ads?]
101 W Weddell Dr, Sunnyvale CA 94089
Borregas Court Apartments was created for those who know what they want out of life! Our elegant homes of distinction provide carefree living with personalized service.
dogs are OK – wooof
it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
This posting got deleted about 2 days after it was posted. The person named Smith Ellen was claiming he owns the place. When I called the apartment rental office they said they do not have any 1 bedroom apartments, only studios.
Here is another one.
$700 / 2br – 1399ft² – Our newly-renovated homes include energy-efficient appliances (san mateo)
Date: 2011-11-04, 11:06AM PDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Creekside apartment in San Francisco are located just one mile from Cal Train or the 101 freeway, near the San Mateo Golf Course, the Bridgepointe and Hillsdale Shopping Centers, and community parks. Our newly-renovated homes include energy-efficient appliances, upgraded cabinetry and brand-new flooring, as well as an in-home washer and dryer, spacious closets and a private balcony or patio. Residents of Creekside apartments in San Francisco can work out in our fitness center, relax at the pool or mingle in the barbeque and picnic area.
1600 E 3rd Ave (google map) (yahoo map)
cats are OK – purrr
dogs are OK – wooof
This posting got deleted shortly after it got posted. The person named Myles Rohnson claimed he owned this apartment, it is the “only property” they got and they need someone to take care of it “like their own”. Him and his wife got transferred to Uk to work with the UNICEF. Such a said story. He also wanted the rent to be transferred via Western Union or Money Gram, promising the keys and rental agreement to be FedExed as soon as they got the money. The Creekside apartment management office at this address did not know of anyone owning the apartment and were not aware that someone is trying to rent their property via craigslist.
Craigslist warns their users about scam. Here are very important and healthy alerts they offer:
DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on craigslist.
NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”
NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, OR PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN – in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.
DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING UNTIL YOU HAVE MET THE INTERVIEWER OR LANDLORD/AGENT IN PERSON.D/AGENT IN PERSON.
Find out how to report scam: