Scam phishing for personal data or the greatest apartment find in history?
October 20, 2010 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Scam phishing for personal data or the greatest apartment find in history?

I just found an apartment on Craigslist that seems too good to be true (2k sq ft, 2 floors in a brownstone, rooftop patio, 4 br, 2 bath, clawfoot tub, central air, garbage disposal, downtown metropolis... $1200 inclusive).

I applied and got a form back asking for regular personal info (rental history) and it doesn't ask for any credit card or other type stuff but the person says they're in the UK for 3 years and can't show the apartment (but can provide pictures). wtf? As I was typing the info it occurred to me that it might be a phishing scam of some sort. Anyone heard of such a thing before?

Note that I've already seen some photos and the place is as described--the photo of the outside matches the the house at that address on Google maps.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it walks like a scam, talks like a scam, and looks like a scam, it's probably a scam.
posted by schmod at 7:32 AM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's a scam. It's a scam. It's a scam. Walk away now.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:38 AM on October 20, 2010

Not really a phishing scam, but still a scam. They don't own the apartment; you send a deposit and first month rent and then they'll "send you the keys in the mail". It's possible/likely that the house/apartment is for sale somewhere, and the scammer just pulled the pictures and address to use in his listing. Craigslist is full of listings like that.
posted by specialagentwebb at 7:39 AM on October 20, 2010

Scam. I may have just dealt with these very same people posting in L.A.(Memail me if you like and we can compare the names of the posters.) If they're in the UK for 3 years, they can find some kind of property manager to show the place.

In my case, they were copying and pasting info from another C-list ad that listed a property at a higher price.

My sympathies.
posted by corey flood at 7:40 AM on October 20, 2010

It's a scam. My aunt fell for it about a year ago. Unbelievably. I felt like I was an unwilling participant in a Lifetime Movie. By the time I was involved, I think she had lost about $1500.

They don't want to use a property manager because they've been burnt by them in the past. They're going to ask you for a deposit to Fedex you the key so you can look at it. Oh but it's fully furnished too! How fortuitous! And after thinking about it and discussing it with their spouse... and after you've sent the money for the key... they're going to want an extra amount of money, in addition to a deposit, to ensure you don't damage/steal their furniture while looking at the house. But it's all going to be refunded, don't you worry!!
posted by jerseygirl at 7:53 AM on October 20, 2010

posted by Sys Rq at 8:19 AM on October 20, 2010

It's a scam. As tempting as it is, try not to reply to the scammer and tell them you're on to them - just walk away. Once they find out you know they're BS-ing you, they'll trade your e-mail around so you get all sorts of contact from fake veterans, priests, nuns, long lost relatives, politicians, and foreign dignitaries, on coming into millions and millions of dollars and needing your ohsospecial help. Passing around your e-mail address to other scammers when you call them out on the scam seems totally unproductive, but they do it anyway. Back away, and do not respond further.
posted by raztaj at 8:41 AM on October 20, 2010

Also, please flag the review on craigslist (do it multiple times if you can, sometimes they get removed on the 2nd or 3rd time) so that other people don't fall into the same trap!
posted by raztaj at 8:53 AM on October 20, 2010

A friend of mine encountered this scam here in LA with the added bonus of the scammer claiming to be deaf and therefore unable to have a phone conversation. But, hey, rent this enormous Beverly Hills apartment for a mere $800!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:51 AM on October 20, 2010

I'd not only flag this on craigslist but make a police report.
posted by bearwife at 12:19 PM on October 20, 2010

Follow Ratto's Law: "If during a Craigslist transaction you have a question if something is a scam then it is a scam."
posted by andoatnp at 2:19 PM on October 20, 2010

Seen this one many times. Total scam.
posted by fso at 4:57 AM on October 21, 2010

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