Just a few days ago my wife and I were searching for a new apartment using rental websites such as gottarent.com, kijiji, and craiglist. And every time we found an apartment that suited our needs, we contacted the landlords only to find out that they all were coincidentally out of country or out of town. And get this–the majority of responses we got said they were “on missions” for the community or at “2 to 3-year long conferences”! Are you serious? Do they really expect us to send them money without meeting them or speaking direclty with them on the phone or even viewing the apartment?! You’ve got to be kidding me.
Then, a couple of days ago, my sister-in-law ALMOST got scammed through ebay. Here is the full story: below are the email conversations between my sister-in-law and the “scammer”.
Notice the subtle punctuation and grammar errors in the responses (eg. No space after a period).
Scammer’s response to an ad on ebay:
“I am a missionary presently on the mission field.We are buying the beds for comfortability of our missionaries in Africa.The shipping company from Nigeria will be picking the beds up after the pickup fee has already been paid.We have no access to phones here due to the village we stay in.I go miles before i can be able to make internet connection and its very slow.The payment has been made already and has been deducted from my account..But the issue is that PayPal has placed a temporary hold on the fund for security reasons just to protect both of us..So you will have to send the money to the Agent and get back to PayPal with the western union details for verification and once the transfer has been verified, the whole fund will be released into your account without any further delay.”
“Am from Edmonton Canada but currently on a mission in Nigeria ( Kano)..The ultimate Cargo is the freight company used by the organization. I can understand your feeling.i have also been scammed by two different sellers and i dont want this kind of of thing to happen again.i contacted paypal about the transaction and they mailed that you haven’t gotten back to them with the western union details,that is why they haven’t credited your account.i also contacted my shipping company and i was mailed that you haven’t replied them also.I’m becoming worried of another scam act.pls get back to PayPal with the necessary details.
Hope to hear from you soon.
I trust in you but not to scam me.”
Next and most important email…
“I was just about to make the payment when i had this little problem with the picking up, I got an email from my agent that he won’t come and pick it up unless i pay him the agent commission fee first in order to be able to schedule a pick up time. I find it very hard to pay him from here due to the village i am and i can’t send it online because i don’t have credit card. So i will like you to kindly help me with this.. i will include the $700 they charged to pick it up (1st class Service) to the payments i will send through PayPal. I will need you to help me send the $700.00 included in the payment to my pick up agent through Western Union Money Transfer. I will also include $50 for western union transfer fees. Please I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.
I will get back to you as soon as i have transferred the money to your account..
Thanks for your understanding.”
Then, she got the following email from a *fake* paypal account:
Thankfully, by that time she realized she was being scammed.
I hope the pasted emails help prevent other incidents like the one described above.
I’ve also found this link informs you about the rental scams and what to look out for.