Here is how the scam works.
The scammer, usually from Nigeria, the UK or outside of the US, copies a residential rental ad from a rental site and reposts it to a free large classifieds site. They make the rental price very low in order to attract as many potential renters as possible.
The unassuming interested renter thinks the price is too good to be true but decides to contact the “owner” or “property manager” of the home.
The email response would look something like this. (This is a real email from a scammer). email is (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: $800 / 3br – Better Than New!
We have decied to let you live in our house. As we have found your application very setisfactry and acceptable by my family. So we would want you to go through the acceptance form and get back to us on what you feel.I will be giving you a call later.we would like to send the following document to you via FEDEX to the address you sent to us and the tracking number will be sent to you so that you can possibly occupy our housePlease once againwe are giving you this on trust and do not dissapoint us and I promise you thatyou will love the house. So we are with the below document here with us.you will need to make Payment for Rent deposit and shippment of the Keys and document to the address you will have to provide to us.
Here are the contents of the document.
1) Entrance and the rooms Keys
2)Paper/Permanent house form
3)The house documetary file.
So please do get back to me today so that I will let know the next step to take concerning the payment. I await your reply ASAP.Regard and God bless you!!! You can call us on how to make payment for the shippment of the Keys and Document to the apartment. Our house number is +234-803-659-7132 OR 011-234-803-659-7132.or you can indicate if you want me to instruct you on how to make the payment.
Mr. Johnson David
WifeTheresa & daughter Melinda100 Church RoadLagosWest Africa. 01234
+234-803-659-7132 OR 011-234-803-659-7132
Missionary Code: 15148Z
The unassuming renter sends this scammer a check assuming they will then receive the keys to the property. Of course, the keys are never sent and the scammers now has the renters money.
In some cases, the scammer will tell the potential renter that they are out of the country but can send them the keys to see the house themselves. If they don’t like the house the “scammer’ says they will refund them their money. (Usually a $2,000 deposit)
The major red flags of any scam are:
- Outside of the US
- Wanting Payments – Cashiers Check, FEDEX, etc
- Unable to personally show you the property
- Is traveling on business and will just send you the keys