The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.

By Paul Michael on 5 January 2009 (Updated 18 September 2009) 60 comments
Photo: House Trap

It seems like new variations of the Nigerian 419 scam pop up every week. The one that caught my attention recently involved renting a home, and it’s a nasty trick that could take anyone by surprise. But if you know what to look for, you can avoid it.

I’ve been looking around for a home rental recently. There are several resources out there for home renters, but the first place I tried was Craigslist. It seemed like an easy way to cut out the middleman and deal directly with the family renting out their home.

One home that I found seemed way too good to be true. For $1200 a month inclusive, I could rent a beautiful 5-bedroom home with wooden floors, new appliances, a finished basement and even a whirlpool tub. That’s a whole lot more house then we have now, for a whole lot less than our current mortgage payment.

I emailed asking for details. I expected a reply saying “sorry, it’s $2200 a month, my bad,” but the reply I actually got was more than a little weird. The English used in the ad was perfect, clearly stripped from a different listing; the English in the email was broken and awkward. Here’s the reply:

Hello Dear,
 
Thanks for the email. I own the house and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer to (West Africa, Nigeria) that makes us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person and God fearing person who can take very good care of the house in our absence.we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in West Africa and will be staying here for the next 4 years in our new house and also with the keys of the house for rent, we try to look for an agent that we can give this documents and the keys before we left but could not find, and we as well  do not want our house to be used any how in our absence that is why we took it along with us. I and my Wife came over to Africa for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us that you will  take very good care of the house. So get back to me if you know you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home. Hope you are okay with the price of $1200 per month and the security Deposit is $600.Get back to me for the rental application. You can go and view.  

Here is my contact number: +2347058014164 or 0112347058014164

Alarm bells instantly started ringing in my head. What was with the “Hello Dear” opening line? Why the constant references to God and missionary work? And how come they still had the keys and no agent?

This all sounded like the classic Nigerian 419 scam, right down to the broken English and references to religion. So I did a quick search for the exact term “Craigslist Rental Scam Africa.”  It turned up over 259,000 hits, including this one about the very same ad I had seen.

After a little more digging around, I found out that this scam has been around for years but is rapidly on the rise due to the rotten economy. Some people, like myself, are looking for a bigger house to rent until we can sell our smaller one. Other people want out of a big house payment, or have bad credit and can’t get a mortgage.

The Associated Press reports:

Because of tighter restrictions on financing for home buyers, many are renting instead. And the rising cost of gas is pulling people closer to work, transportation or schools. Jim Kight, past president of the Rental Housing Association of Greater Portland, says renters bidding for good homes have helped drive up rates at his rental properties as much as 15 percent from a year ago. "This rental market isn't hot; it's beyond that. It's steaming," Kight said. "The sad part is that this kind of market opens it up for these kinds of scams."

Regardless of the situation, the market has been flooded with people looking to rent a home; and when that happens, scammers come out of the woodwork.

The Scam

There are variations on the theme, but the basic premise is the same. Scammers will take a legitimate listing for a home, complete with pictures, and repost it on Craigslist for a lower price. This gets way more people to bite, people are eager to find a great house for a small payment.

The scammer usually replies with a story about quickly moving out of the country to work as a missionary. References to God and missionary work are supposed to instill a basic level of trust in the potential tenant; if it’s a man of God, he can’t be a bad guy, right?

The scammer will ask for a month’s rent and a deposit, plus a completed rental agreement. This, of course, is the key to stealing your identity. You may be asked to mail it to someone and the keys will be returned to you. Or, you may get a more sophisticated scammer who will give you a tour of a home first. In the latter case, the con artist may have actually rented the home for a month and plans on scamming many people in one or two days before disappearing.

You may think you’d be too smart to fall for one of these scams, but there are many people who have already fallen victim to this crime. It’s easy enough to dismiss someone speaking pidgin English and asking for money to be sent to Nigeria. 99% of us would spot it. But, what if it was someone with a greater grasp of English, who gave you a tour of the home and had all the right paperwork?

As 10 news reports:

“According to authorities, the scam has recently popped up because the type of locking system on most homes for sale needs an access card. However, the glut of available homes on the market has reduced the supply for the access cards, so many agents have been forced to use older systems.”

So now, the scammers don’t even need to rent the home themselves. They can gain access to a home for rent, and look like a legitimate landlord or agent. So what can you do? How do you know if the rental property is legit?

Unfortunately, this crime hasn’t appeared on the Craigslist sams page yet, but with enough media attention it should make the page soon enough. But a site called rentalscams.org has some great information, like the warning list below.I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the market for a rental property.

There are commonalities with all rental scam emails. Below are some tips when dissecting a rental scam email.

   1. Does the email start out with Sir / Madam?
   2. Are there misspellings in the email?
   3. Are there character mistakes in the email? i.e Hello,my nameis Susie.
   4. Is there excessive capitalization?
   5. Does the email reference God, UK, Cashiers Check, Doctor, Nigeria, Reverend, etc.
   6. Is the email from a free email provider. i.e gmail, yahoo, aol, hotmail.
   7. Does the email refer to another person or agent?
   8. Does the email reference wanting to move in site unseen?

If the email has a majority of these commonalities, then the chances are very good it is a scammer. If you are unsure, it is best to not reply to the email.

Scammers aren’t just targeting tenants though. If you’re a homeowner planning on renting out your property, you may also be conned; a site called Fraud Guides offers the following sound advice.

Rental Scam Warning Signs

  • You are contacted via email regarding a property. You may have posted on Craigslist, for instance, so email is hardly unexpected.
  • Be on the lookout for poor grammar or comments that make no sense.
  • The request comes from outside the country. This may turn out to be a legitimate inquiry but once you know it originated from somewhere overseas proceed with caution.
  • There is a sense of urgency. If you feel pressured to act quickly because of some immediate need, be especially cautious. Scam artists count on decisions made in haste.
  • Third parties become involved. If the person wanting to rent your property needs to use a friend or someone else as an intermediary in order to pay, you should be at your own highest alert level. This is a common Nigerian Scam ploy.
  • You will be over-paid. This is one of the tricks these scam artists use to get money out of you. Normally, you would be the one receiving cash in a transaction. In this case, however, the check or money order is made out for more than you requested. Oops. Now they'll want you to wire the extra amount back to them. Once you do, they back out of the entire arrangement and days later you will find out that the check or money order was a forgery and you're stuck with the loss.

How to avoid Nigerian rental scams

  • Only deal with landlords or renters local to you.
  • Do not let someone pay more than you asked for.
  • Do a web search for the renter's name to see what comes up.
  • If the payment arrives in the form of a money order, inspect it carefully in case it's a counterfeit. Despite your best attempts to determine its authenticity, it may still turn out to be a forgery.
  • Do not let someone else use your name or Social Security number to buy a property, especially if they offer to pay you for using it.
  • Don't do anything until the money order or check clears the bank. You could be pressured to act sooner and you might even receive threats.
  • Don't give into anything. Nigerian scams depend on you sending money to someone before the money order clears the bank.

So whether you’re looking to rent a home, or rent out your home, you really need to keep your wits about you folks. Stay safe. Be vigilant. And if in doubt, back out.

Further reading:

http://www.therealestatebloggers.com/2008/09/12/warning-craigslist-rental-scam/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/02/11/2008-02-11_craigslist_scams_targeting_renters_despe-2.html

http://www.419legal.org/blog/2008/06/02/craigslist-rental-scam/

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/291192/how_to_spot_and_avoid_a_rental_scam.html

http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Crimes/InPerson/MajorPerson/rent_scam.htm

http://paulm.com/inchoate/2004/06/419_rent_scam.html

http://berealct.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/rental-scammers-using-craigslist-to-target-landlords/

http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/CraigsList_scams.php

http://activerain.com/blogsview/199990/Beware-Rental-Scams-Operating

http://7r3y.com/2008/05/06/craigslist-rental-scam/

http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2008/08/craigslist-rental-scam.html

http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Nigerian/room_rentals.htm
 

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Guest's picture

How creative people are getting about these scams, it almost seems hard to believe. When I clicked on the link, I thought this was in reference to people renting houses that are currently in foreclosure which is happening a lot in my area.

Guest's picture
lucille

Wow, what a nightmare. If we ended up in a rental situation again I would look first to rent something owned by a larger property company even if it meant downgrading to a townhouse.
I had two landlords who were unable to pay for needed repairs to the property one being a failed septic, the other massive code violations. Both situations caused us to have to move and in both situations the problem was known and not disclosed.

These rental scams are really concerning, especially people pretending to rent out a house that is sitting empty for sale. That one would be pretty easy to fall for even if your careful.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for the blog, but it's "pidgin" English. Just thought you should know.

Paul Michael's picture

It's perfectly acceptable to spell it both ways, or that's what The Free Dictionary says. But I changed it, just for you ;-)

Guest's picture
Guest

Just ran into the EXACT same scam from craigslist too. I replied to a 400 dollars a month utilities included ad. A man claiming to be in Africa for missionary work sounded professional when responding to me in the email. He told me to email his wife becuase she was the one with the "documents and key." It was implied that the wife was back in the states. However, the red flags went off as soon as she responded to me. Her sentence structure was poor and sounded foreign...very broken english and sounded uneducated. She gave me some excuse as to why they never got a real estate agent before they went off to Africa for missionary work. And she implied she was STILL in Africa. She kept emphasizing how they really want someone they can trust and who will take care of their home while on their missionary trip. She then sent me a rental application form she wanted me to fill out. The rental application form was just a type out of questions...it was not any kind of legal document. The questions were even more alarming. I copied and pasted the following from her e-mail sent to me. Hi,

please input the information of all those who will be staying in the Apartment.

********RENT APPLICATION FORM**********
********PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL**********

Please if you are interested, please fill out this application form with the correct information for filing. I am doing this based on trust.

The monthly rent and utilities are all in the rent.

1) Your Full Name ??
2) Your Full Address ?
3) Phone Number ??
4) Citizen or Country ??
5) How old are you ??
6) Are you married ??
7) Sex ??
8) Religion ??
9) How many people will be living in the Apartment ??
10) Do you have a pet ??
11) Do you have a car ??
12) What is your Occupation ??
13) Short or Long Term Lease ??
14) When do you intend moving in : Date ??
15) When do you intend to moving out : Date ??
16) How many month's deposit would you be willing to pay upfront with security One or Two Month ??
17) Reference Details ??
18) Occupants Picture ??

Okay... wow... don't know where to start with all the red flags on this one... so obivously--not only are some of these questions illegal to ask because of discrimination issues etc....they are questions that, if given the answers to, are a recipe for : stealing your identity, finding you (and so many things can happen with that), and if you send them a check you will not only be giving them the name of your bank, but you will also be providing them with your routing number. They can take that and create fake checks with all the information you just gave them by having answered their questions. I know checks require many things such as microprinting, but who knows what would be accepted or overlooked if they used those checks in Africa... I have know idea. But I have a feeling you would get screwed over in the end.... and you just lost the 400 dollar deposit you mailed them in order to get the supposed "documents and key" mailed to you... or if you chose to pay them a few months worth then you do the math. Or... what if you send them the money, you get the documents and key, and you show up to the house where someone else is waiting for you... a con artist who makes it seem more legitimate... and you move in...what's going to happen to you now? The supposed husband who first responded to me said he was going to check up on me quarterly... how would someone do that if they are in Africa? Is he going to send someone over? And if that's the case... that's a bit scary because I had stated that I was relocating from another state looking for a rental in SLC and I had mentioned my age. With them knowing this, I could "disappear." Don't be naive...this is happening in America...people are being "sold." And you may think this is extreme, but it's actually becoming more talked about lately in the states. Again, just talking about many of the scenarios when it comes to your safety. By the way... has anyone thought... what documents is this supposed "wife missonary worker" talking about?...she was never clear about what the house documents are and if it has anything to do with the title of the house... why the hell would someone send me THEIR title to THEIR home? Now that's just ridiculous. If someone were that naive to send something like that to a tenant then maybe you deserve to be scammed? My favorite part, being sarcastic, is when, along with the questions she asked me to answer, she stated something along the lines of don't call me I'll call you sort of bit. Anyway... just thought I'd get all of that off my chest and hopefully this helps out anyone else of NOT getting caught up in a horrible scam.

Guest's picture
Guest

I got an email from some website called tagged.com saying "You've been tagged by (insert name of a, less savvy, friend here who somehow got through the process of signing up without realizing it was a scam and then actually managed to share my email with them.)!" and it gave a link to their site where you could sign up and and then "tag" them back or whatever........

At first it seemed like it was just another social networking site - they did a really good job of making it feel like it was legit (although the design sucked), but they just keep pressing you for weird details throughout the sign up process..

Here's a link to a site talking about it.....
http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/phishing_Tagged_dot_com.php

Guest's picture
Kelly

I believe 99% of the Wise Bread readers are intelligent enough to recognize this as a scheme on their own. For the other 1% I encourage them to take the guy up on the house and engage in financial darwinism.

Philip Brewer's picture

@Kelly:

As Paul said--yes, this scheme was easy enough to spot, for someone who's a native speaker of English who's got even a little experience with such matters.

But the real warning is to watch out for the more sophisticated versions.  If someone in a suit meets you at the house, has a key, shows you around, and has exactly the sort of application paperwork that you're expecting--would you think to check and verify that he really owns the house?

In the old, pre-internet version of this scam, criminals used to rent out houses that they knew would be vacant for a few weeks.  The victim would move in, only to have the actual owner show up after a vacation or a business trip.  The more things change....

Guest's picture
Craig

Thanks for informing others. I didn't realize this was such a common event that it became a case study in the matter.

Guest's picture
Guest

Wow this is really detailed! great job, Iv'e never heard about this type of Nigerian scam before!

Paul Michael's picture

Those con-artists can really be convincing. People really need to be on their guard. And these days, they're using pay-as-you-go cell phones, which can be bought for as little as $20. You get a local number to call, they meet you, everything seems legit and then they can disappear without a single trace.

By the way, the numbers listed in the email I received are the real deal. I never called. I advise anyone else to stay away from them, too. Some people like to mess with scammers, but it's not advisable. You never know who you're actually dealing with.

Myscha Theriault's picture

This is of interest to me, as we might be looking to rent an affordable house on our next extended trip. Having this happen in a foreign country, well . . . it might be hard to spot. If someone were looking to rent to travelers, I would expect the English to be broken and might not catch it, as even the English language newspapers in many countries don't exactly read like somebody fluent wrote the articles. Not sure if others are aware of that.

Guest's picture

Hey Paul,
I just found your blog, and you write some interesting articles :) Kudos!

That's a pretty amazing scam to be running. I feel like when I've rented apartments before I'm usually not expecting to get scammed (at least like that), so it's good to be reminded to be on my toes next time I'm in the market! Thanks :)

I blog over at paidquik.com. I just started a few days ago, so I'm still getting the lay of the land, but I thought I'd say hi!

Paul Michael's picture

I always appreciate feedback and a new reader. Thanks for stopping by, I'll be sure to check out paidquik.com as well. Happy New Year.

Guest's picture
J.Lo

Just had the same thing happen to me yesterday. Family in Africa, they would send the keys and agreement by mail etc... They were trying to be so convincing that they sent me pictures of their family (white, blond haired and blue eyed family) UNREAL!!!

Guest's picture
Barbara

about not messing with the scammers. I vaguely remember a post awhile back (most like on here?) about how dangerous scammers can be if you mess with them. I have a friend who got some really nasty emails when she continued to email back a scammer with frivolous responses--scary enough that she closed the email account!

Guest's picture

I saw a news report of a very professional, well spoken "agent" meeting someone at a house (that they had actually cleaned up and changed the locks on)...taking a deposit, letting the people move in...and two months later, the police shows up at their door and kicks them out? Why?.... because it was a bank owned home...that the scammers found was empty...which gave them plenty of time to do their dirty work. They had the person's deposit and two months rent and were gone...

Guest's picture
kirstjen

I don't get it -- when something is too good to be true, it is just that -- NOT TRUE. From these ridiculous scams to celebrities being taken in by Madoff, when will people learn that you get what you pay for?

Once people learn these really simple lessons, they won't be taken advantage of quite so easily.

Also, when people start talking about what good christians they are, that should be a dead giveaway to run like hell. (No pun intended.) I think the bible says you'd know 'em by their actions. They shouldn't need to advertise the fact that they are good people.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just so people are aware of it. Sure, it's simple to us to be skeptical but we're more aware as a group who regularly uses the internet and reads Wise Bread... others are not so lucky.

Fabulously Broke in the City
Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver...

Guest's picture
frizia

nice post

Guest's picture
PROTECTED

I cannot beleive I just read this. This morning I received the EXACT response/email from this guy. I am speechless. I cannot beleive this is so easy to do. I am desperate to find a house for me and my family and this guy gave me such false hope. I will do everything in my power to stop this and make sure people are aware of this.

I will post my email from him as well.

Thank You.

Guest's picture
Justin

My girlfriend and I just found a "too good to be true" ad on craigslist. The email we recieved after we contacted them was almost EXACTLY what you posted as your example. Its hilarious how similar they are. We even went to the address today just to scope it out, and it was in fact the same house from the ad. And it did appear to be vacant...with a note taped to the front door. Who knows what that was... Probably a potential "sucker" that came by to check the place out.

Anyway...needless to say, we wont be sending the deposit to nigeria as they asked us. They went as far as to say that they had the keys there, so we couldnt take a tour. That we were free to check out the area and drive past...but do not go on the property, because we would be trespassing. It really is silly.

Just thought it was funny how similar the two reponses were. Idiots...

Justin

Guest's picture
Guest

Yup, they're at it again. I live in a VERY small town in New Hampshire where you think this type of thing will never reach you. I had never heard of this scam before, but something about the whole deal just didn't feel right. So, I searched and found this. Thank goodness! Otherwise, I may have fallen for it! Thanks for the great info and I'm now aware and will watch for this type of thing in the future.

Guest's picture

Paul, these rental scammers ticked me off so much I decided to create a rental scam quiz so people could get a score and see if they are being scammed or not. Hope it can help someone.
http://www.rentvine.com/tools/rentalscamquiz/

I would love it if you could add my resource to your list above in the post.

Thanks!
Dave

Guest's picture
Linda

All I have to say it's ha ha. So true... He tried to get me. He was renting me a house for rent in Bridgeport, Ct and it sounded to good to be true, so I investigated who was the owmers name and it was different. He said he works for the red cross. He said to send him a deposit of $1000 and then he was going to send me the keys. I'm so mad he tried so hard to get me, but I wasnt gonna let some scammer get away with it. I think I made him a smarter about it because I asked him all these questions, like why his name was different and he said "oh thats my realtor" and why would you have youre realtors name in your house. He was like I promise you will love the house and if you dont like it Ill send you the deposit.

Guest's picture
Nat

Thanks for your email and interest in renting my house..I am Sarah Jacobus ,the owner of the house you are making enquiry of…Actually I resided in the house with my family, my wife and my only daugther before and presently we have moved out due to my transfer from my work now in Warsaw,Poland. Presently my house is still available for rent for 700 USD (rent already includes utilities).More so Now, i’m currently in the (West Africa)for an international Christian follower’s crusade.Pls i want you to note that i spent a lot on my property that i want to give to you for rent,so i will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own, It is not the money that is the main problem but i 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 also want you to let me have trust in you as i always stand on my word.

Address of the house (2630 North Baltimore Street, Tacoma, WA 98407)...

It has a dramatic entry foyer with ceramic floor. Extremely spacious rooms throughout with lots of big windows…nice and light! New neutral paint and some newer carpet..Very quiet, low traffic area. New fridge I believe its absolutely a perfect home for you and your family.Utilities include Water,Trash,Sewer,Gas Etc...
SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW.

RENT APPLICATION FORM.
FIRST NAME:__________?
MIDDLE NAME:__________?
LAST NAME:__________?
PROFESSION:__________?
PHONE:
(CELL)PHONE__________?
(WORK)PHONE__________?
(HOME)PHONE__________?
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
CITY: _______________
STATE:______________
ZIP CODE: ____________
HOW LONG? ___________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING__________?
IF THIS HOUSE IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________?
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________?
IF YOU HAVE A PET,
NAME OF PET: _____________?
KIND OF PETS: _____________?
HABITS
DO YOU SMOKE ______________ ?
DO YOU DRINK ______________?
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT? ____?

Looking forward to hearing from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case 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 keys to you,please we are giving you all this based on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that we have not seen yet and only putting everything into Gods hands,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this…The house is available for rent at the moment so you are free to move in as soon as you wish to…A Deposit of $500 (which happens to be the security deposit) is required before moving in…Feel free to call me for more information and arrangements on how to get the keys and other necessary documents delivered to you…my number is (+23470-4145-2152 011-234-70-4145-2152).The house will be available for rent for a period of 4 years so you have a choice of deciding how long you intend staying there…

God Bless,
Sarah Jacobus

Guest's picture
Guest

I got hit with this same exact Rental Application. Unfortunately for me, i did not realize it was a scam until i had already sent $3000.00. I feel like the biggest idiot ever right now.

Guest's picture
Guest

THE FOLLOWING LISTING IS A SCAM...
HE TRIED TO SCAM ME BUT I FOUND OUT BEFORE IT WAS TO LATE!
DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER ITS A SCAM:

Alias:Richard Maurer
Contact number: 4438443478

http://apartments.rentedspaces.oodle.com/view/single-family-home-for-ren...

825 N 21st St | Single family home for rent Philadelphia PA | Home

Rentals | 1855022077 | Oodle
apartments.rentedspaces.oodle.com
Single family home for rent at 825 N 21st St in Philadelphia PA. Find more Home Rentals in Philadelphia. You'll find thousands of Home Rentals on Oodle. List your Home Rentals for free on Oodle.

From: Richard M (1855022077s31808850@anon.oodle.com)

Morning

We are very pleased that you wrote concerning our home in 825 N 21st St, Philadelphia PA 19130.The house needs no amendment as you can see for yourself in the pictures. I have been receiving a lot of comment on my home but that is not the point because all I wanted is a lovely family that will see my home as theirs and also keep it clean for us as we have always done.I must let you know that the utilities are inclusive with the month rent and the reason why we are not asking for too much was because we want any person or family moving into our home should take absolute care of the utilities and see that the whole house is kept clean and neat. Well I must let you know that if we see how good you take care of our home, we can extend your stay in our home and probably pay you visit once in every six month to ensure that we maintain a good relationship with you. If i see how good you are maintaining the house, i can extend you staying as long as you can stay in our home.

As you can see we are not around to show you our home and there is no one we could trust due to what happen within us and our realtor we are already in Green Bay Wisconsin,but all is in place to allow you move in at your own convenient time,I will
be sending you the entrance keys and the duplicated copy of the house document for you to go through but you can drive by the house to see the surroundings yourself today. If all
arrangement is made promptly. I will send you a Rental Application form today as soon as you get back to us through email.

4438443478

Richard Maurer

Guest's picture
Guest

Hi,

I saw this ad too and I was kind of excited about it but to me it seems like a very nice deal which we can say is too good to really be true. However, I tried searching for his name but it won't come up so I kind of searched online and found this comment. So what was the scam about really?

Guest's picture
Guest

I have received the same email, after looking at the house I knew it was "too good to be true"!!!!!!!!!!!!! After emailing his back and forth a few times I was certain that this was a scam! I asked him questions and he didnt respond in the right manor, it was just about trust and god! Well, I wasnt sending 1200 bucks to this guy without some documentation! I almost went knocking on the nrighbors doors to see if they knew the neighbors and what the deal was, Thank God I checked out your blog first!
Thank you sooo much for posting this, I would have never sent money to someone I didnt know but it was better to read then look like a fool knocking on doors!

Guest's picture
Guest

*******RENT APPLICATION FORM *******
(Private & Confidential)

Also,Pls let me get this answer.
1)Your Full Name
2)Present Full Address(where you reside now) & Phone Number to Reach You
3)Age
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?
8)Occupation?
9) Citizen of which Country?
10) When are you ready to Move In ?
11) When are u planning to leave the flat ?
12) How many months rent can you deposit upfront (plus security deposit(300GBP which will be given back to you after the contract)??

Guest's picture
Alanya A

It seems like this sister has now changed her name! though the e-mail address is still sis.vereg@hotmail.com, the e-mail is from a Richard Brookes:

Dear Mr/Mrs ,

First I will say thanks for taking your time to mail me and it has been my sincere pleasure to write you back to let you know that the Apartment you are making enquiry of is still available for rent.

This is the Apartment Rent Order:-
The Rent is €50per week
The monthly fee is €200 INCLUDING UTILITIES
Security deposit €300
Which gives you the total of ======== €500 to be paid.
Apartment Utilities Included:
Dryer
Washer
Heat
Gas
Light
Water
Secured Car Parking Space
24/7 free Internet browsing
Domestic Pets Are Allowed

My name is Richard Hartlen, And I hereby introduce myself as the rightfully owner of the Apartment you are making enquiry of for an apartment, but right now am in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA on a Contract to Redesign a Real Estate. Actually I was living in the Apartment before I got transfer to WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA on a Real Estate Contract. So I decided to Lease or Rent place my Apartment to someone that can be trusted to Live and take proper care of my Apartment, and to what I’ve experience while I was home and away I found out a whole lot of people are requesting contacting me regarding my Apartment for sale, Which has led me to the point of deciding to put the Apartment on sale when I get back from WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA, But I am not sure of who to accept due to my past experience of someone trying to scam me, so am taking my time to look for a trust wordy, responsible and a very honest person that will move in and take proper care of my home, since am not around due to the origin of my job as a Real Estate Designer, If you are really sure that you want to Buy or Rent my Apartment, Then kindly fill out the rent Application Form below and get back to me with the filled rent form via email as soon as possible.

=========== RENT APPLICATION FORM ============
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Please answer these questions below if you are Interested
1)Your Full Name_________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone ________________________ __
3)How old are you___________________________ __
4)Are you married _ _____________________________ _____
5)How many people will be living in the apartment __ _________________________
6)Do you have a pet ____ __________________________ ___________
7)Do you have a car _______ _______________________ ____________
8)Occupation ____________ _________________
9)How long are you willing to stay _______ ____________________-
10)When do you intend to move in ___
11)(EUR500)one month rent and refundable security deposit
?_____________________________

------------------------------ ---------------------------------------------
This E-mail is only for this email id owner. It contains confidential and privileged information. If you are not the owner of this email id, you must not
copy, distribute, disclose or use any of the information in it or any attachments. THANK YOU…..
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guest's picture
Valentina

The same happends with me these week, I was looking for an apartament to rent in Berlin and I found in then craigslist´s page a very good place to rent, better than possible to be real... 300 euros with all the fornitures and everything included...
So, I send an email in german and they answered in english, my english is not so good and I was waiting for something in german...It was strange because I´m in Germany and looking for something here...
So, in the email the guy said to me the same thing about Nigeria, God and missionary, but that was one more appeal... he said that he´s deaf and he was in Nigeria to work with deaf kids...
I coulden´t belive in the history and said to my boyfriend... he found strange too and send these link to me... I´m just telling again what we know... but I think that´s important to share these kind of things.

Best regards
Valentina

So,here is the email that they send to me

Calvary Greeting To You And Your Family ,

How are you doing today? I must tell you that it is my sincere pleasure to write you to let you know that my property is available,The monthly fee is EUR300 plus security deposit EUR300 altogether you are paying EUR600 for move-in . Utilities Included:Dryer,Washer,Heat,Gas,Light,Water and a secured parking space.Well trained pets are also allowed. Let me quickly introduce myself to you. My name is Rev Sister Veronica Regalado I am DEAF not to worry about that I can read and write properly, I inherited this from my late parent Father Moses Regalado, but right now I am now in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA where I attend a Deaf Christian Missionary School I am single mom and am 34yrs old I reside in the property only before I went to school in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA and I reside in a two bedroom apartment here in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA I want to buy a new home here in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA before June 2010 I decided to rent the property because its has been empty for sometimes now and I have decided to look for a carint tenant to take good care of my Lovely apartment I promised my DAD to take very good care of it I will not like to experience what I experienced from my last tenant, he destroyed most of our valuable home appliances ,and I know how much I spent to repair the things our last tenant destroyed to be very honest with you, a whole lot of people are contacting me regarding our House but I am not sure of who to accept due to our past experience I have been taking advantage of because of my Disability I am taking my time to look for a responsible and a very honest tenant that will take proper care of my home although I am a very woman due to the nature of Education , but if I find a responsible tenant that can promise to take care of my home I would rent it out to he/she . If you are really sure that you want my home for rent then fill out the rent application form below and get back to me with the filled rent form via email as soon as possible.Then we can arrange on how the keys and documents of the home will be sent over to you DHL via express courier service .

=========== RENT APPLICATION FORM ============
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Please answer these questions below if you are Interested
1)Your Full Name_________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone ________________________ __
3)How old are you___________________________ __
4)Are you married _ _____________________________ _____
5)How many people will be living in the apartment __ _________________________
6)Do you have a pet ____ __________________________ ___________
7)Do you have a car _______ _______________________ ____________
8)Occupation ____________ _________________
9)How long are you willing to stay _______ ____________________-
10)When do you intend to move in ___
11)(EUR600)one month rent and refundable security deposit
?______________________________

Type: 1 Bedroom apartment
Surface: 470 sq. feet / 46 m2
French floor: 4th floor
Elevator: No
Code: Yes
Capacity: 4 people
Bed(s): 1 double + 1 comfortable sofa bed
Kitchen: Fully equipped.
Washing machine: Yes
Dryer: Yes
Bathroom: with shower
Telephone: Yes
Color TV: Yes
Cable for TV: Yes
Internet ready: Yes
Hi-Fi CD player: Yes
Sheets & Towels: Yes
Amenities:
Linens, Towels, Good Heaters, Iron and Iron Board, Hair Dryer, Vacuum Cleaner, Fans, Equipped Kitchen with Cooking and Eating Utensils, Toaster, Coffee Maker, Kettle.

I don't ever want to take the risk of putting my home in care of an agent again, because my last agent recived three months rent from a tenant and didn't give me the money since I am in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA not only that he rented my apartment to a guy who provided a fake credit report and was not capable of renting my home so you can see where I am coming from that I have suffered lot due to my disability people take advantage of me , since I am a very busy person, I just have to be very careful with the kind of person I rent my house to, but if you can assure me that if I let you rent our House, you will take proper care of it, I will be glad to make you my new tenant to be.As soon as I hear from you with the rent application form filled, Expect to read from you soon, once again thank you very much for the time in reading this email I just have to explain in details .

Yours Sincerely ,
Rev. Sister Veronica Regalado .

Guest's picture
Guest

I got this one for Stockholm today .. ;-) EUR 200+300 in my case ..

again from Rev. Sister Veronica Regalado 

 

  

Guest's picture
Guest

Ohh my god!! i got the exact same email from this person advertising for an apartment in PARIS for 500 EURO. I was highly suspicious first of all because. ....DEAF and NIGERIA. A western union fraud specialist once told me NEVER to send money to a different country, then law enforcement in my country or the place of rent can not help.

Also, foolishly enough these people send me 2 emails, in the other one the age is mentioned to be 24 years! The same woman's name, everything else is IDENTICAL!! I googled her name and the first match was your blog.

I wish to thank you heartily and congratulations for not getting conned! :)

 

 

Guest's picture
Guest

I got the same in Budapest, Hungary. Do not trust....many scams on craigslist, but not always.

good luck

Guest's picture
Guest

I just recieved the same e-mail from that woman/ men, I was looking for a flat in istanbul, and she send me the same thing!!!

thanks for sharing!

 

Guest's picture
Guest

The exact same thing - Amsterdam.

Guest's picture
Lucia

Hi

While searching for an appartment in Berlin I jumped into this same Veronica Regalado, that offers her house for 200 €, plus 300 € deposit. Her story seemed a bit weared to me, so I asked her for pictures abour her house, details of means of transport nearby, how to get the keys. She sent me the pictures but they altogether form a flat of more square meters than what is announced, and some seem to have been collected from different sources (web pages...).

What troubled me most was that she asked for the money before sending the key of her house.

After reading on the forum about the Nigerian fake, I have realized that the person announcing under the name Veronica Regalado is lying. Beware of this address

 sis.vereg@gmail.com

Guest's picture
Guest

Hi all,

 

I am the same when received her email.

After being lucky in a few minute, I googled her name and there are the wise bread website.

This scam appears in Australia.

Is this her new email:

Rev Sister Veronica Regalado <regaladoveronica@live.com>

Thanks all of you,

Linh.

 

 

 

 

How are you doing today? I must tell you that it is my sincere  pleasure to write you to let you know that my property is available,The monthly fee is $600 plus security deposit $800 altogether you are paying $1400 for move-in . Utilities  Included:Dryer,Washer,Heat,

Gas,Light,Water and a secured parking space.Well trained pets are also allowed. Let me quickly introduce myself to you. My name is Sister Veronica Regalado I am DEAF not to worry about that I can read and write properly, I inherited this from my late parent Father Moses Regalado, but right now I am now in West Africa,NIGERIA where I attend a Deaf Christian Missionary School I am single mom and am 26yrs old  I reside in the property only before I went to school in West Africa,NIGERIA and I reside in a two bedroom apartment here in West Africa,NIGERIA I want to buy a new home here in West Africa,NIGERIA before June 2010 I decided to rent the property because its has been empty for sometimes now and I have decided to look for a carint tenant to take good care of my Lovely apartment I promised my DAD to take very good care of it I will not like to experience what I experienced from my last tenant, he destroyed most of our valuable home appliances ,and I know how much I spent to repair the things our last tenant destroyed  to be very honest with you, a whole lot of people are contacting me regarding our House but I am not sure of who to accept due to our past experience I have been taking advantage of because of my Disability I am taking my time to look for a responsible and a very honest  tenant that will take proper care of my home although I am a very woman due to the nature of Education , but  if I find a responsible tenant that can promise to  take care of my home I would rent it out to he/she . If you are really sure that you want my home for rent then fill out the rent application form below and get back to me with the filled rent form via email as soon as possible.Then we can arrange on how the keys and documents of the home will be sent over to you DHL via express courier service .
 
 
  ===========  RENT APPLICATION FORM  ============
                PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Please answer these questions below if you are Interested
1)Your Full Name_________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone ________________________ __
3)How old are you___________________________ __
4)Are you married _  _____________________________ _____
5)How many people will be living in the apartment __ _________________________
6)Do you have a pet ____      __________________________ ___________
7)Do you have a car _______  _______________________ ____________
8)Occupation ____________  _________________
9)How long are you willing to stay _______ ____________________-
10)When do you intend to move in               ___
11)($1400)one month rent and refundable security deposit
?______________________________
 
 
Type: 1 Bedroom apartment
Surface: 470 sq. feet / 46 m2
French floor: 4th floor
Elevator: No
Code: Yes
Capacity: 4 people
Bed(s): 1 double + 1 comfortable sofa bed
Kitchen: Fully equipped.
Washing machine: Yes
Dryer: Yes
Bathroom: with shower
Telephone: Yes
Color TV: Yes
Cable for TV: Yes
Internet ready: Yes
Hi-Fi CD player: Yes
Sheets & Towels: Yes
Amenities:
Linens, Towels, Good Heaters, Iron and Iron Board, Hair Dryer, Vacuum Cleaner, Fans, Equipped Kitchen with Cooking and Eating Utensils, Toaster, Coffee Maker, Kettle.
 
 
I don't  ever want to take the risk of putting my home in care of an agent again, because my  last agent recived three months rent from a tenant and didn't give me the money since I am in West Africa,NIGERIA not only that he rented my apartment to a guy who provided a fake credit report and was not capable of renting my home so you can see where I am coming from that I have suffered lot due to my disability people take advantage of me , since I am a very busy person, I just have to be very careful with the kind of person I rent my house to, but if you can assure me that if I let you rent our House, you will take proper care of it, I will be glad to make you my new tenant to be.As soon as I hear from you with the rent application form filled I will send you more information about my property I would get back to you with the address and pictures, Expect to read from you soon, once again thank you very much for the time in reading this email I just have to explain in details .
 
 
 
 
Yours Sincerely ,
Sister Veronica Regalado .====

Guest's picture
Guest

the same person had an advert on expatriates.com, trying to rent out a flat in stockholm for only 500 euros and a deposit and claiming he is in WEST AFRICA, NIGERIA

Be aware of this scammer

email address: sis.vereg@gmail.com

Guest's picture
sofia

I just received an e-mail too!The opening line is great!

Calvary Greeting To You And Your Family ,

How are you doing today? I must tell you that it is my sincere pleasure to write you to let you know that my property is available,The monthly fee is EUR200 plus security deposit EUR300 altogether you are paying EUR500 for move-in . Utilities Included:Dryer,Washer,Heat,Gas,Light,Water and a secured parking space.Well trained pets are also allowed. Let me quickly introduce myself to you. My name is Sister Veronica Regalado I am DEAF not to worry about that I can read and write properly, I inherited this from my late parent Father Moses Regalado, but right now I am now in West Africa,NIGERIA where I attend a Deaf Christian Missionary School I am single mom and am 26yrs old I reside in the property only before I went to school in West Africa,NIGERIA and I reside in a two bedroom apartment here in West Africa,NIGERIA I want to buy a new home here in West Africa,NIGERIA before June 2010 I decided to rent the property because its has been empty for sometimes now and I have decided to look for a carint tenant to take good care of my Lovely apartment I promised my DAD to take very good care of it I will not like to experience what I experienced from my last tenant, he destroyed most of our valuable home appliances ,and I know how much I spent to repair the things our last tenant destroyed to be very honest with you, a whole lot of people are contacting me regarding our House but I am not sure of who to accept due to our past experience I have been taking advantage of because of my Disability I am taking my time to look for a responsible and a very honest tenant that will take proper care of my home although I am a very woman due to the nature of Education , but if I find a responsible tenant that can promise to take care of my home I would rent it out to he/she . If you are really sure that you want my home for rent then fill out the rent application form below and get back to me with the filled rent form via email as soon as possible.Then we can arrange on how the keys and documents of the home will be sent over to you DHL via express courier service .

=========== RENT APPLICATION FORM ============
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Please answer these questions below if you are Interested
1)Your Full Name_________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone ________________________ __
3)How old are you___________________________ __
4)Are you married _ _____________________________ _____
5)How many people will be living in the apartment __ _________________________
6)Do you have a pet ____ __________________________ ___________
7)Do you have a car _______ _______________________ ____________
8)Occupation ____________ _________________
9)How long are you willing to stay _______ ____________________-
10)When do you intend to move in ___
11)(EUR500)one month rent and refundable security deposit
?______________________________

Type: 1 Bedroom apartment
Surface: 470 sq. feet / 46 m2
French floor: 4th floor
Elevator: No
Code: Yes
Capacity: 4 people
Bed(s): 1 double + 1 comfortable sofa bed
Kitchen: Fully equipped.
Washing machine: Yes
Dryer: Yes
Bathroom: with shower
Telephone: Yes
Color TV: Yes
Cable for TV: Yes
Internet ready: Yes
Hi-Fi CD player: Yes
Sheets & Towels: Yes
Amenities:
Linens, Towels, Good Heaters, Iron and Iron Board, Hair Dryer, Vacuum Cleaner, Fans, Equipped Kitchen with Cooking and Eating Utensils, Toaster, Coffee Maker, Kettle.

I don't ever want to take the risk of putting my home in care of an agent again, because my last agent recived three months rent from a tenant and didn't give me the money since I am in West Africa,NIGERIA not only that he rented my apartment to a guy who provided a fake credit report and was not capable of renting my home so you can see where I am coming from that I have suffered lot due to my disability people take advantage of me , since I am a very busy person, I just have to be very careful with the kind of person I rent my house to, but if you can assure me that if I let you rent our House, you will take proper care of it, I will be glad to make you my new tenant to be.As soon as I hear from you with the rent application form filled I will send you more information about my property I would get back to you with the address and pictures, Expect to read from you soon, once again thank you very much for the time in reading this email I just have to explain in details .

Yours Sincerely ,
Sister Veronica Regalado .

Guest's picture
Guest

Dear Mr/Mrs ,

First I will say thanks for taking your time to mail me and it has been my sincere pleasure to write you back to let you know that the Apartment you are making enquiry of is still available for rent.

This is the Apartment Rent Order:-
The Rent is €50per week
The monthly fee is €200 INCLUDING UTILITIES
Security deposit €300
Which gives you the total of ======== €500 to be paid.
Apartment Utilities Included:
Dryer
Washer
Heat
Gas
Light
Water
Secured Car Parking Space
24/7 free Internet browsing
Domestic Pets Are Allowed

My name is Richard Hartlen, And I hereby introduce myself as the rightfully owner of the Apartment you are making enquiry of for an apartment, but right now am in WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA on a Contract to Redesign a Real Estate. Actually I was living in the Apartment before I got transfer to WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA on a Real Estate Contract. So I decided to Lease or Rent place my Apartment to someone that can be trusted to Live and take proper care of my Apartment, and to what I’ve experience while I was home and away I found out a whole lot of people are requesting contacting me regarding my Apartment for sale, Which has led me to the point of deciding to put the Apartment on sale when I get back from WEST AFRICA,NIGERIA, But I am not sure of who to accept due to my past experience of someone trying to scam me, so am taking my time to look for a trust wordy, responsible and a very honest person that will move in and take proper care of my home, since am not around due to the origin of my job as a Real Estate Designer, If you are really sure that you want to Buy or Rent my Apartment, Then kindly fill out the rent Application Form below and get back to me with the filled rent form via email as soon as possible.

=========== RENT APPLICATION FORM ============
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Please answer these questions below if you are Interested
1)Your Full Name_________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone ________________________ __
3)How old are you___________________________ __
4)Are you married _ _____________________________ _____
5)How many people will be living in the apartment __ _________________________
6)Do you have a pet ____ __________________________ ___________
7)Do you have a car _______ _______________________ ____________
8)Occupation ____________ _________________
9)How long are you willing to stay _______ ____________________-
10)When do you intend to move in ___
11)(EUR500)one month rent and refundable security deposit
?_____________________________

------------------------------ ---------------------------------------------
This E-mail is only for this email id owner. It contains confidential and privileged information. If you are not the owner of this email id, you must not
copy, distribute, disclose or use any of the information in it or any attachments. THANK YOU…..
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

scammer email: sis.vereg@gmail.com

Guest's picture
Anne

I just received this today regarding a 1 bedroom in Baltimore, MD.

from Richard Brookes Hagen
date Sat, May 29, 2010 at 8:09 AM
subject Re: 1 bedroom

Thanks for your email and interest in my apartment.

I am Richard Hartlen a Voluntary missionary and I own of the 1 bedroom Apartment you are making enquiry of email my wife and tell the the location of the apartment you are contacted me about so she can email you the address and informations, The apartment is still available for rent. $700 per month and$700 for security and damages deposit . It comes loaded with amenities: Furnished Living room and Bedroom, Leather furnitires and a walk-in closet, a balcony or patio, ceiling fans, gas stove, garbage disposal,and central air conditioning and heating, I bathroom and Toilet, Fully equipped kitchen. Easy access and transportation options are numerous. The rent fee includes utility bills(electricity,water,etc) so you dont have to worry about that. This apartment is available for short or long term rental. I used to reside in the apartment with my wife, Carol Hartlen, but due to the fact that I was transferred to West Africa and my wife to USA, on a missionary transfer, and now reside here for the time being, We have decided to put our apartment for rent to someone neat, honest and trustworthy. I will be here in West Africa for a while and very busy with missions and crusades. So I will like you to get in touch with my wife in USA via email (mcneishcarol@gmail.com) for more details and pictures as she is with the keys and the necessary documents of the apartment. Upon confirmation of your interest, You will be given a rent application form by my wife, after you have filled the rent application form and made payment for a month's rent and refundable deposit and damage fees, the keys and documents will be sent to you through DHL. The application form is subject to approval. I want you to note that I am a kind and honest man and also I spent a lot on my property so if eventually we give you our apartment, I will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this apartment and want you to treat it as your own.I want to know if I can trust you to handle my property with care. Please note that we don't have anyone over there to show you the apartment, So we will have to send you the keys & Documents via DHL Courier Service on a next day delivery after you have made payment for the first month's payment and security deposit so you can move in asap. If you are ok with this and you are ready to proceed, please e-mail my wife Carol Hartlen at ( mcneishcarol@gmail.com ) tell her the location of the apartment you contacted me about and request for the application form .

Richard Hartlen .

Guest's picture
Barbara

Here is the response I got after inquiring about a "too good to be true" house on Craigslist. The next day the listing was pulled.

Hello,

Thanks for the email. Yes the House is still available and will only be given out to the right person that will take very good care of the place and the facilities. The house has a lot of facilities like laundry facilities, air condition, internet and telephone access, Dishwasher, Dryer, Microwave, Oven, Refrigerator, Stove/Gas, Dining Features: Eat-in Kitchen, Living/Dining Room, and other necessary facilities. I have really decided to give out the house as a result of my transfer to West Africa ( Nigeria )

I will be giving out the house for $600 with a security deposit of $600. I need to inform you as well that money is not the major reason why I am renting it out but want someone who can take care of it as if he/she owns it. So let me know as soon as possible if you can take good care of it, so that we can discuss the rent further. Pets are allowed. Here is the address of the (9113 Crystalwood Lane Richmond , VA 23294 )

We initially wanted to sale the house but we changed our minds and decided to rent it out because the economy is bad and it has also affected the housing market. We might decide to sale in the future but for now we are just renting it out .If you are interested you can go by and view it but you will not be able to go inside cause the keys are here with me and my wife in Nigeria . Hope to hear from you soon.

Joseph Renate

+2347064241168

Guest's picture
Guest

here is another scam rental from craigslist to add.....beware !
My Dear Thanks for your interest in my house and How are you doing today?

The House Is a 2 br 1.5 ba Single-Family Home. Which My wife and I occupied before leaving for Nigeria. We left on a self Mission following God's Call to Preach the Word and Let people of all Nations Hear About Him. My wife and I thought of ourselves and asked God what we would Give him and He says we should sacrifice our life and give him the best we can,letting humans know about him. The bible account of Luke 12: 29-31, Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. We decided to do the missionary work.

Which my family and I have spent so much time and money to maintain it up till its standard. We have been trying our best to make the house as clean as possible, because am a clean person and we don't like dirt around our surroundings and also the Bible says cleanliness is next to Godliness.

So we are looking for a well-behaved, clean and honest tenant to rent out our house too. So we will like you to give us your word and promise us that you will take good care of our house so that we will be happy when we come to visit you in the future.. We would like to work any flexible plan you have on your term of renting, Long or short term or month by month.While we were leaving,we took along with us the keys just to view the Land if it would be favorable for God's Work,on getting down here we decided to stay and Go On preaching the Good News.The Home was Formally FOR SALE but we have decided not to sell anymore so we would lay our head when we do come back to rest. Prior to our arriving back we shall be giving a 90 days notice to you if we finally decide to rent to you.We shall be staying for upwards of five years here doing God's Work. So kindly Get back to us with the application form below.

Note: the Rent is $700
Security Deposit is $700
Total Cost to Move in is $1400
Our cell Number where you can reach us is: 0112347041013190
Here is the address of the house:: 117 Fairview Avenue, Brockton MA 02301

RENT APPLICATION FORM

FIRST NAME:________________
MIDDLE NAME: ________________
LAST NAME: _________________
PROFESSION: ________________
(CELL)PHONE ()_________
(CELL)PHONE () _____________________
(WORK)PHONE () __________
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY _______
PRESENT ADDRESS: ____________________
CITY: ______________
STATE: _____________
ZIP CODE: _______________ HOW LONG? ____________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING?
IF THIS Home IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING?______________
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________
MONTHLY INCOME:
IF YOU HAVE A PET:
NAME OF PET: _____________
KIND OF PETS: _____________
HABITS
DO YOU SMOKE? ___________
DO YOU DRINK? ______________
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT?____

Looking forward to hear from you 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 this. Looking forward to hear from you.

Best Regards,
Pastor Wale Johnson.
Cell: 0112347041013190

Guest's picture
Guest

It just popped up on CraigsList on the Kenosha/Racine, WI area. This is the email I received:
My Dear Thanks for your interest in my house and How are you doing today?

The House Is a 3 br 2 ba Single-Family Home. Which My wife and I occupied before leaving for Nigeria. We left on a self Mission following God's Call to Preach the Word and Let people of all Nations Hear About Him. My wife and I thought of ourselves and asked God what we would Give him and He says we should sacrifice our life and give him the best we can,letting humans know about him. The bible account of Luke 12: 29-31, Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. We decided to do the missionary work.

Which my family and I have spent so much time and money to maintain it up till its standard. We have been trying our best to make the house as clean as possible, because am a clean person and we don't like dirt around our surroundings and also the Bible says cleanliness is next to Godliness.

So we are looking for a well-behaved, clean and honest tenant to rent out our house too. So we will like you to give us your word and promise us that you will take good care of our house so that we will be happy when we come to visit you in the future.. We would like to work any flexible plan you have on your term of renting, Long or short term or month by month.While we were leaving,we took along with us the keys just to view the Land if it would be favorable for God's Work,on getting down here we decided to stay and Go On preaching the Good News.The Home was Formally FOR SALE but we have decided not to sell anymore so we would lay our head when we do come back to rest. Prior to our arriving back we shall be giving a 90 days notice to you if we finally decide to rent to you.We shall be staying for upwards of five years here doing God's Work. So kindly Get back to us with the application form below.

Note: the Rent is $700
Security Deposit is $700
Total Cost to Move in is $1400
Our cell Number where you can reach us is: 0112347041013190
Here is the address of the house:: 3620 27th Street, Kenosha WI 53144

RENT APPLICATION FORM

FIRST NAME:________________
MIDDLE NAME: ________________
LAST NAME: _________________
PROFESSION: ________________
(CELL)PHONE ()_________
(CELL)PHONE () _____________________
(WORK)PHONE () __________
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY _______
PRESENT ADDRESS: ____________________
CITY: ______________
STATE: _____________
ZIP CODE: _______________ HOW LONG? ____________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING?
IF THIS Home IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING?______________
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________
MONTHLY INCOME:
IF YOU HAVE A PET:
NAME OF PET: _____________
KIND OF PETS: _____________
HABITS
DO YOU SMOKE? ___________
DO YOU DRINK? ______________
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT?____

Looking forward to hear from you 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 this. Looking forward to hear from you.

Best Regards,
Pastor Robert Beck.
Cell: 0112347041013190

In hopes of it being legitimate, I responded back, only giving very little information however. Unfortunately I did the phone number search too late. Don't respond back to them!!!

Guest's picture
Guest

Craigslist advertisement - $1000 / 2br - LOVELY 2 BEDROOM/ 2 BATHROOM HOME (Wheaton, IL 60187)

here is the response I received after inquiring about this house.

Thanks for your interest in our house.

Firstly i will like to introduce myself, I am an Engineer by profession (retired) originally from Florida FL. I and my wife acquired the house recently and decided to rent out the house but due to our busy schedule,and the fact that we are retired we decided to go on a 3 years voluntary missionary trip in association with Christ embassy to Africa.

We are looking for a responsible people that can take good care of the house in our absence. Our house is still available for rent and the house rent includes all utilities.The house is not furnished because we have already moved our stuff to the storage before we left for the journey.

Please we want you to note that we are kind and honest people,we will want you to take absolute care of our house,we want you to keep it tidy all the time so that we will be glad to see it neat whenever we visit.

So if you are really interested in the house, we will want you to fill out the rent application form below.

RENTAL APPLICATION

The undersigned hereby makes an application to rent the following property: 109 S Sumner St Wheaton, IL 60187.

Anticipated move in date of ___________________at a monthly rent of $1000 and the term of tenancy will be renewed automatically every year or monthly.

TENANT INFORMATION

Applicant (A) Full Name__________________________
_______

Phone (_____) _____________________

Other Phone (_____) ________________________

Age_________________________ _

Marital status___________________

Do you have a pet___________________________ ________

Do you have a car___________________________ ___________

Driver's License #_____________________________ ___

How many people will be living in the house_________________________ __

PREVIOUS RESIDENCE INFORMATION

1) Previous Address ______________________________ ________________________

City: ____________________________ State :______________ Zip:________________

Length of occupancy _____________________

Landlord's Name: ______________________________ ________

Phone (_____) _______________________

Reason for leaving ______________________________ _________________________

Rent Payment $_______________

Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that we can have it in our file for record purposes. We are waiting your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the house documents and the keys to you. NOTE:The keys and documents of our house are here with us in west Africa, please we are giving you the house based on trust.

You will only be able to drive by the house for now but you will not have access into the house until we have sent the keys and documents of the house to you, the requirement for getting the keys and documents of the house is the rent payment which is refundable should in case you finally gain entrance into the house after receiving the keys and documents and feel unsatisfied or uncomfortable with the interior,but i am giving you my word that you will love everything about this lovely house.

Please note that your rent starts counting from move in date so you need not to worry about making the deposit payment now and not moving in immediately because all you're doing is securing the house in your favor in order not to loose it to other interested applicants.

DESCRIPTION: THIS 2 BEDROOM/ 2 BATHROOM HOME OFFERS A NEW ROOF, NEW WINDOWS, A HUGE LOT, AND A GREAT DECK FOR BBQ'S AND THAT IS JUST OUTSIDE. THE HOME HAS UPDATED MECHANICALS. THE KITCHEN IS BRAND NEW WITH UPGRADED APPLIANCES, 2 BRAND NEW BATHROOMS, NEW FINISHED FLOORS, NEW CARPET, AND NEW LIGHT FIXTURES. HUGE WALK IN MASTER BEDROOM CLOSET. PETS OK . THE HOUSE IS AVAILABLE NOW AND THE HOUSE RENT INCLUDES ALL UTILITIES.

You can contact us on 011 then 234-813-843-8217 or +234-813-843-8217.

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

Remain blessed
Mr. Michael and wife Mrs Jennifer Carr.

Guest's picture
Guest

This is what I got after responding to a "too good to be true" apt. ad... (Also, I had mentioned I am a widow, why I

mention this will be obvious, right away!)

"Hello dear,
It's my great pleasure that you are interested in our lovely 2br/2ba home for rent. I am Rev David Defrancesco owner of this home. Actually we resided in this home before and presently we have packed out due to me and my wife transfer as a matter of my profession on a campaign tagged"Empowering the Widow and the Needy"... And my wife who is a missionary dealing with Bible Translation and literacy worldwide.

We will be serving for a long term and now our home is locked up now and presently we have found a new home here which we will be staying for a very long term which might last 5 years in (West Africa) NIGERIA and presently our lovely home is still available for rent for ($700) as first month rent including the utilities like washer,dryer,fireplace,fenced backyard, internet access and garage...

While the security deposit fee ($500) and your first month rent fee ($700) comes up as the first down payment and move in fee which you will make to receive the keys and other necessary documents that you will use in moving into our home,so after the payment the keys and other documents will be send to your full home address provided in the filling out of your application form via FedEx.So as soon as you receive the keys and documents you can move in at your own convince time.

More so,Now that we are on a retreat program over here. Please I want you to note that all we will want is a very honest and caring person, so i will solicit for your absolute understanding and maintenance of this home and want you to treat it as your own,I hope that is taken. The money is not the main problem but i want you to keep it tidy and clean always. I also want you to let me have trust in you as i have always stand on my word. I also want you to take note that payment will be send to me through Western Union Money Transfer grocery or store Nearest to You.

Please feel free to call me on my cell phone : 011-234-802-973-2557 OR +234-802-973-2557

Home Address: 17 Mariposa Avenue Lowell, MA
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Parking: Double Garage
Date Available: Available for move in immediately
Pet Policy: Pet Allowed
Security Deposit $500
Monthly rent : $700
Total Cost To Move In: $1200

SO IF YOU ARE STILL INTERESTED PLEASE GET BACK TO ME WITH THE RENT APPLICATION FORM FILLED.EVERY OCCUPANT OVER THE AGE OF 18 MUST FILL OUT THE APPLICATION (EVEN IF MARRIED) PLEASE FILL OUT THIS FORM COMPLETELY.

***RENT APPLICATION FORM***
1)Your Full Name...........................?
2)Full home 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 car................................?
7)When do you intend to make the total cost to move in............................................?
8)How long will you be staying ............................................?
9)When are you packing in to our house..................................?
10)Occupation...................................?
11)How many hours do you work daily....................................?

Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case 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 keys to you,please we are giving you all this base on trust and sincerity so I won't like you to disappoint us.

Thanks and God Bless you
Rev David Defrancesco
Cell #: 011-234-802-973-2557 OR +234-802-973-2557 "

P.S.~ Above SCAM resulted from an ad on Craigslist in N.E. area.
Now, I have cancer, am on Disability, too young for help from husband's SS, and it took me 2 YEARS to come up with the $$ to try to move out from my current 'apt'.! Boy, I am *SO* glad I found this page & that my own radar worked (easily enough) when I got this ... P.O.S. response back...
just wish they didn't know what I did mention of myself... (kicking myself!!), but that was also a big part of tip-off, they used my situation and details "against" me in here, along w/the form b.s.
Thanks guys, for helping ppl, K

Guest's picture
Guest

I have been scammed by this same Reverend Relga guy and I have to admit I have been an absolute idiot. I lost 500 pounds to this guy or whoever he is. I am student in a foreign country, guess its a lesson for me BIG TIME. Welcome to the big bad world, I guess. Hope somebody gets this gang of thieves.

Guest's picture
Guest

Same thing happened to me awhile back too...it embarassing and really frustrating, but you learn never to do it again! I feel sorry for the both of us. I still think of it to this day... =(

Guest's picture
Guest

I just finished emailing back and forth with these people. It's funny and sad that they believe some of us are stupid enough to believe their scams. Nobody would post in their ad a whole lot of wording related to God, Christianity, Lord .... as some people are not religious or have other beliefs. I told the guy that I was going to send him the entire 6 month rent payment of $6600 $1100/mo) + $700 security deposit. I was having tons of fun with him! He then picked up the phone, as this was too good to be true. I'm sure he thought he had came off. Funny because he called me at least 12 times to confirm that the payment had been made. NOT. I'm no fool, but it was lots of fun. Stupid Idiots

Guest's picture
Tristan

This just happened to me, I got an email with urgency to rent and the guy said he will be back and forth between the UK and Africa, and the number he sent me started with +2. I checked out the address online and noticed that the house he was referring to was for sale by a Realtor already and that didn't add up, so I did a google search about renting scams and I found your post. Thanks for the info, you just opened my eyes and showed me to be more careful!

Guest's picture
Guest

I know this is a couple years late, but this is happening to me now. I gave them my name and current address but no ssn, dl#, or money. What should I do? Help!!

Guest's picture
Guest

The exact same thing just happened to me too! I have my name, phone #, and current address. Thankfully, like you, I didn't give an SSN or DL#....thank goodness! I guess we just learned a good lesson and avoided getting totally scammed!

Guest's picture
Michael

Just found one of these and the scam is almost word for word like the first example on this page. My wife and i are GUTTED! We are christians and didn't realize that this was going on! We are moving in June and i was so pleased that our searching was actually over! Then i received an email with bad english and the damage deposit that was needed was $1000 for a $1600 per month renal! Then the so called tenant application form consisted of just a few lines in an email. We looked at the email that we had been waiting for all day and something just didn't feel right. So i went to my trusted google and just typed "Nigerian house rental scammers" which is where i found this site! Thank GOD for this site because, as angry as i am right now, i didn't send any money to these people. I seriously hope that people do a search before going through with something as important as this! I even told our kids that we had found the perfect house! Ive reported the add to used Vancouver now and i hope that it's removed by tomorrow!!!
Michael

Guest's picture
Guest

This is the same exact email we received today after inquiring about a house that was too good to be true. We started to do some research and I am certainly glad I did. Wow!! People are unbelievable!!!

Guest's picture
Michael

Glad you did some research before parting with your hard earned cash. The thing is, this scam is not getting away!

Guest's picture
Guest

Thank you so much for this article !! You truly save my 4kids and I from being scammed! We are moving across states and found a house on criglist all our emails to this person sounded just like you in this article. We thankfully pulled out when I found this and before sending any money!

Guest's picture
Guest

I have been scammed by ads for rentals too good to be true, like high-end housing advertised for way below-market value. When I checked it out, the property was for sale, not rent. I am so glad that I didn't pay anything sight unseen.