• Apr
    19

    A Rental Scam? Read This Article, Then Tell Me What You Think

     

    When looking for a place to live you’ll find many legitimate properties. Unfortunately, some of those will be scams and you need to keep your wits about you to make sure that no cons you into a property that they don’t even have. Consider the following story, based on the listing below…

    $600 / 1br – Well designed one bedroom unit with appliances (Victoria)

    Well designed one bedroom unit with appliances, the unit has a living room that is equipped with modern appliances and it is tastefully furnished, the bedroom has a queen size bed and a wardrobe, it has a light stand beside the bed, the wardrobe house enough linen and bedspread which you can make use of, the kitchen is equipped with appliances and cutlery and it has a modern fridge where you can store your groceries and other perishable items, this unit is readily available for move in. The surrounding environment is good for living and it is close to amenities. There is hot water and air condition in the unit, and there are additional window coverings in the wardrobe.

    It looked interesting, even though there were no photos, so I wrote back for more information. This is what I received:

    Hello,

    I got a contract job in an engineering company for a construction project as part of the structural engineers to build a high-rise building in London, United Kingdom. I am a building tech specialist, so my accommodation period in England will be about 4 years, so that’s the reason why i am renting out the unit. I do not intend to make profit out of it all i want is to find a good and clean person to take good care of the place. I`m the owner of the unit and it is furnished but you can bring your furniture and help keep mine in the storage locker which is situated both in the unit and in the building and these does not attracts any funds.

    The monthly rent that am requesting for is $600 and the rent is to service the bills which includes all utilities (water, electricity, Internet, cable, 1 parking spots, air conditioning, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, refrigerator, stove, laundry in-suite, washer and dryer) the monthly rent you will be paying includes all this and they will be taken care of as soon as you pay your rent.

    Everything in this unit is functional and in good working condition. Once you started staying in the unit and there is any case of repairs which is as a result of normal faults like leakages, you will get in touch with me and i will get it fixed, i am in possession of the keys to the apartment which makes hard for you to view the unit. You can move into the unit when you receive the keys.

    TERMS AND CONDITION:
    ~The lease is month to month , 6 month or 1 year and can be renewed ~It can be rented furnished or unfurnished ~ You will have to take good care of my unit ~Utilities are included in the rent ~Pets Allowed Any further questions please contact and get back to me for the pics and address of the unit. Thank you for your interest and i`m awaiting your response.

    Thanks.

    When I read the response, something didn’t feel right but since I received it on my smartphone it was hard to figure out what was bothering me. Later, I read the message on my laptop and several things jumped out at me:

    • The poor English (it reminded me of the Nigerian Scam)

    • The fact that the person was out of the country

    • Telling me that there were problems viewing the unit

    • And then there was the issue of getting the keys

    All of these set off alarm bells. Smelling a scam, I wrote back with the following message: “Thanks for the message. As for the term, the best I can commit to is five months, not six. As for the unit itself, is it possible to view it, or not? I’m not comfortable moving into a place I cannot see. Please advise.”

    The response? Nothing. I’m not surprised.

    For the record, Craigslist has an excellent page on avoiding scams. I recommend reading it.

    In an upcoming article I’m going to write about how you can fight back once you realize you’ve encountered a scammer. In some circles this is known as: “Scam the scammer.” Stay tuned.

    © Nathan Segal

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