Saturday, December 26, 2009
As most of you know, we've been looking for a new apartment for a few weeks...most of our "research" has been via craigslist and while finding a few promising leads, nothing has really been to our liking. Thankfully, we can afford to be picky and so we are. One apartment in particular that we have been looking at the last few days we have discovered is a total scam. So here is my list (your welcome in advance) of signs to look for to make sure you do not get scammed... also known as the "red flags." Thankfully, Mr. D and I are fairly intelligent college graduates so when we realised through email contact that stuff wasn't quite adding up, we made the call that it was a scam and are moving on with our apartment shopping. The scary thing is that we have so many friends that use craigslist or other online means of looking for an apartment, and I certainly wouldn't want them to get scammed out of money. So here were the clues as they emerged 1. The guy who was emailing us only contacted us through email. 2. The emails were terribly written, grammatically speaking. 3. The email address was based in India. 4. The guy used a lot of spiritual and scriptural references (probably to reassure us that he was religious and therefore trustworthy) 5. The guy claimed he was on a "mission" in Africa, and was trying to rent out his apartment in Utah, because the previous rentors "set the stove on fire, were noisy neighbors" and had us give our word that we would not do the same. 6. Our "application" was emailing him our name, address, phone numbers and ONE reference. 7. He wanted us to send him rent via Western Union (which involves a $25 fee, which my wonderful, cheap husband would never agree too) 8. He claimed the $600 included the rent for the 2-bedroom townhome and ALL utilities. (IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS). That was my biggest red flag. 9. He claimed he took the only set of keys with him to Africa, and that was why we couldn't walk through the place. RED FLAG! 10. He never had us sign a contract or agree to any specific amount of time that we would be renting. He just told us after a handful of emails that we got the place, and all we had to do was send the $400 deposit + first months rent ($1000 total) and he would send us a packet with the keys and all the information about the house. HUGE WAVING RED FLAG. 11. Thankfully, we were smart enough to drive by the place, and it had a "For Sale" sign so we took down the name of the real estate agent. He told us NOT to contact her (which we figured, if he couldn't show us the place, maybe she could). RED FLAG RED FLAG!!! Also, if you just rented out a place and kicked out the renters, then why would you have a for sale sign??? RED FLAG! In short, as much as I liked the charming place, NOTHING added up when it came right down to it. We didn't send any money or give out any personal information that this person could use against us, but you really have to be careful. So that's my Christmas present to you, is a lesson that took us 4 days to realise. Watch out for scams. Be careful.
Running Ruth Dowling at 2:04 PM