What is this apartment scam? (And how can I screw the scammer?)

A friend’s in the market to rent and he sent me a Craigslist ad that was definitely too good to be true. Two bedrooms in a beautiful new building, a parking spot, fireplace, etc. all in the middle of the city for a ridiculously low price. I said go ahead and answer it, but the price is probably missing a zero or he’s going to tell you it’s gone and try to show you another, lesser apartment.

Friend wrote. Got a message back. The guy has a superanglosaxon name but his first language obviously isn’t English. Though that’s not the (second) red flag. Apparently he lives out of the country and only comes in twice a year. He needs my friend’s address so he can mail him the key if he wants to look at the place (how trusting!). Third red flag – the guy wants first and last month’s rent.

So how is this scam going to work? How does he plan to get the money without my friend seeing the place? My guess is he’ll ask for a safety deposit before my friend ‘gets’ the ‘keys.’

Also, the guy has provided an address/apt #. Can the building concierge confirm info about tenants, legally (well, this I can check tomorrow)?

And lastly, what would be a nice way to screw this guy over?

In my area, asking for first & last month’s rent is pretty much standard for nice places. But I agree that this is very likely to be a scam.

An online acquaintance of mine once answered an ad for a luxury duplex that was being offered for lease at a suspiciously low price. After lots of emails back and forth, the landlord said that he wanted to receive the rent by direct bank drafts and needed all the account info from the prospective renter’s bank. Yikes.

I figure the address is for something like that. Hmm, maybe I’ll ask if they can send it to my office.

Ahh, never mind. Just found the scam and it’s what I thought – a ‘419’ advance fee fraud. I do plan on doing a bit of scheming, though… so if anyone had any ideas.

The link is hilarious, though. A woman saw her own apartment listed on Craigslist, so she answered the ad–

I answered an ad like that once and the guy told me over the phone that he’d want to stay in the apartment when he was in town a few days a month and have sex with me! He even told me it would be okay if I had children!

Ok If you had previous children, or children with him?

Either, I’m not picky.

Previous children, who would live there also.

This reminds me of the first person to answer my online personal.

She told me the best way to contact her was by Yahoo IM. I did, and it was very interesting. She was a 30-year-old model who instantly fell in love with me. She sent me 8 photos of herself, of which she was wearing clothes in maybe three of them.

There was just one problem in our getting together – she was stuck in Lagos taking care of her sick grandmother. Would I pick her up at the airport? Of course! (not) Could I help her out with the plain ticket? Of course! (NOT!)

What was odd was that she claimed to be born and raised in Boston, be she had the speech patterns of someone for whom English is a second language.

Funny, a week later, I decided to message her (him? them?) again, just to see what would turn up. I ended up accusing her of running a scam. She denied everything and tried to patch things up. And she had money. And a house. Of course, she was about to lose the house unless she paid $10,000 for it right away. She just needed me to make the transaction for her.

Uh huh.

The contradiction eludes me.


tdn, did you ever get to sleep with her?

Hey, this thread is about screwing the scammer - I thought it was that kind of story

I was going to ask Zjestika the same question.

He wouldn’t happen to live in Nigeria, would he?

EDIT: Here’s the resident of the apartment.