Search Rental Scam Emails
Rental scams have done more than financially impact their victims. There are two versions of rental scams. In one, the scammer poses as a realtor or rental company, or as a private person with a room or apartment to rent. In the other version, it is a scammer posing as being interested in renting from their victim.
Scammer as the Realtor
When the scammer is posing as a realtor, rental company or as a private person with a property to rent, the scams can range from very sophisticated with many websites or something as simple as an ad on Craigslist with a room to rent. Either way the scammer never has property to rent to anyone. Sometimes they will claim to have vacation rentals in very popular areas while in other scams, they target college students looking for affordable rooms. In both cases, the scam is the same. They will try their best to get you to agree to rent the room or apartment or house without even seeing it in person. They will give you a story that they are out of the country and that they forgot to leave the keys, but once you pay the deposit they will mail you the keys and deposit. Of course, they will ask you to send the deposit to them through Western Union or Moneygram. You will never get the keys, of course. In some of the victims' stories, it's been worse than that. Some victims have sent the money and thought all arrangements were made for their vacation rental in a completely different country. Then, when their vacation arrives, they either show up at the property they thought they rented, and someone is living there OR they arrive to find out that the property doesn't exist at all and they have no place to stay.
Scammer as the Renter
In much the same way as an overpayment scam works, the scammer will contact you through ads that you have posted on the internet for rooms or apartments or homes available to rent. The scammer will insist that they want to rent it, without even looking at it. They will insist that they are out of the country but will have a family member or agent send a check for the deposit. When you receive the check it will be for much more than the agreed upon deposit. The scammer will tell the victim that their agent or family member must have messed up because the other money was suppose to be for furniture or storage or something like that. They will then have you cash the check at your bank, keep the deposit plus a little extra and then send the rest on to whoever through Western Union or Moneygram. The check is always a fake check and when the bank reverses the check, you will be responsible for the money.
I, myself, have not dealt a lot with rental scammers because honestly I don't have time to investigate ads on Craigslist so I don't have a lot of information to list here as of now. If you know of additional information that would help the FRAUD FYI visitors, feel free to use the comments section to post it.
The best way you can protect yourself from scams like these is to:
1) Steer clear of emails that sound suspicious or are too good to be true
2) Do an internet search for the email address the sender is using. Many times it will more than likely appear on sites that report scams
3) NEVER give your bank details to someone you don't know, especially if you "met" them through uninvited emails and especially if they ask you to email your information to them. Legitimate companies, banks, lawyers and other professionals would NEVER do this.
4) NEVER send money to someone you don't know, especially if they ask you to send the money to another person in another country (Africa should sound the alarm!) Legitimate companies, banks, lawyers and other professionals would NEVER do this. Legitimate companies will also NEVER have you send money to an individual's name through Western Union, Moneygram or any other money sending service, even if they are in the same country.
My list of past rental scammers for search purposes:
*Please do not report these emails to the service providers. The scammers will simply create a new email somewhere else making internet searches fruitless. We don't want them creating new emails because as long as they continue to use these email addresses, people that search will find them listed as scam emails.
One Love Apartment onelovea partment firstname.lastname@example.org