Craigslist: Scam or not?

I have a condo close to Sacramento State University and UC Davis Medical Center. I rent a bedroom and bath to grad students, visiting professors and commuters for a semester at a time. I like having the space available for family and friends during the gaps. I don’t advertise my space but respond to requests.

This ad was placed today:

I responded:


I am also female but need a little more information before I offer my home to you. I have a totally furnished private bedroom and bath available in my condo.

Are you a student? Will you have employment? Do you have transportation to wherever you’re going (work, school, etc.,) or will you rely on public trans? What are you willing to pay per month/week? How long will you need the accommodation?

I think many of us would enjoy renting to an East Indian but need to know more before doing so.

The reply:


I am a working woman and i have to rely on public transportation to go office.
I can pay per month and will be staying more than 3 months.

By the way are you a US citizen?

(She gave her name)

I see it as a scam but it’s so completely different from the other scams I’ve received; she didn’t ask me to mail her money to make the trip or sell her a kidney for her dying father. The question about being a US citizen - that’s different too. What makes it a little more confusing is that there are legitimate Indians here who are hired by Intel, UCD Med Center, HP, NEC, and other tech companies, not too many miles away. Her response was so sparse whereas most hoaxes are overly word salad.

Whaddya’ think?

I see a lack of information, but I’m not sure I understand why you think it’s a scam. Clarify?

Well, she didn’t start off with, “Thank you for the prompt reply…”

It could be the usual advance fee fraud, but it’s difficult to be certain unless she sends you the scam instructions.

Scams will usually involve some sort of risk on your part. I see no risks here.

My guess is, she’ll spill the beans (should this be a scam) after your response to this question, or you’ll find it to be a genuine curiosity.

Keep digging, and keep us posted on further communcation.

Possible scam-She comes in, either alone or with a friend. If alone, she will look around to see exactly where the big ticket items that are easily sold are, get information on when you are usually at work, then come back later to clean you out.
If she brings a “friend”, the friend will steal items while she distracts you…or they’ll just rob you then and there.


Agreed with the :confused:.

Any reference to race or nationality as a factor that will determine whether you will rent to someone is probably illegal. The fact that you and family members sometimes occupy the space is where the variations in local laws come into play, so I’m not saying for sure it is illegal. However, you should hope her “scam” isn’t related to surprise inspections on behalf of the fair housing authority. California is one of the more activist states on fair housing issues.

Other than that, this is one of the few Craigslist-related posts that doesn’t ping my scam-o-meter. It doesn’t seem like you are taking any risks with this person that you wouldn’t be taking with any other potential tenant. There are some risks inherent in showing any property to anyone.

I totally agree. I mean, letting a stranger on your property is always risky, but if you’ve been willing to do it and rent rooms, I’m sure you know how to take care of yourself and property.

This doesn’t seem fishy… just like she’s young, hasty and shooting off e-mails before thinking about them.

Doesn’t appear scammy to me. How did you know she was from east India?

Probably the line in the ad that says “I am female from India”. Oh, wait - if you mean the eastern part of India, that’s not what she means. She’s talking about East Indians as opposed to West Indians - ie., people from the West Indies. They both play cricket, of course.

It may be somewhat racist to say so, but I’ve never heard of an Indian person being a robber or a drug addict who might turn to such scams. For your proposed scam to work, the person who shows up has to look and talk and dress like someone fresh from India.

Why pretend to be from India if she is a local woman? Why specify a start date? Why state that she needs to be near public transportation? These are all factors which limit the number of responses. Presumably if she is coming from India and needs to move in on a specific date she will have to make arrangements prior to actually showing up. For this scam it would be so much easier to say she’s looking for something ASAP and can afford to live anywhere in the city.

But that’s a risk you take any time you rent a room to somebody. The OP is apparently willing to take such a risk, since she’s offering a room to rent.

I don’t see anything in this response that indicates a scam is particularly likely. It could easily turn into an advance fee scam, but those are quite easy to spot.

Ah! I did mean the eastern part of India. I’ve never heard someone from India called East Indian before. Where I come from we say Indian (and Carribean for someone from the West Indies). Interesting to know that people use those terminologies though!