I knew there was a reason why I stayed away from the Classifieds mega site Craigslist.com. I learned the hard way that there are a lot of folks just trying to trick you into stealing your money. So this is what happened! I’ve been looking for a new place to live, within a reasonable price, and with enough space for a roommate. UGH! If that’s not enough stress, this area (DC) is super freaking expensive, so I branched out and started looking for houses/condos for rent. This is where the nightmare began! Check out my step-by-step mistakes:
1. I used Craigslist to look for a legitimate apartment/rental property listing.
2. I was eager, impatient and “trusting” because I needed a place A.S.A.P.
3. I didn’t set up a throw-away email account for inquiries; I used my personal account (sad face).
Fast forward! I sent inquiries to about 4 properties in the area and let me tell you…the responses that I got were normal. The first response I got was for a house for rent in NOVA for $900 a month. To me it was a sweet deal! This was the first email I got:
Thanks for your email and interest in renting my apartment, the property is in a secured neighborhood fully furnished with all necessary amenities. It has a very large bedrooms with spacious in built wardrobe, living room with dining area, 2 bathroom, dishwasher, washing machine, and clothes dryer. The home comes with two parking spots, a storage unit where you can deposit my furniture (if you don’t like it and you want use your furniture). Pets allowed. The home is in perfect living condition and everything is included (water, electricity, Internet, cable, parking, air conditioning, fireplace, dishwasher, garbage) in the rent. Property is available for move in at the moment but unfortunately, I would not be present in person to show you the property due to my recent job transfer to Brooklyn, NY and I do not have a local representative to show the place due to my transfer so if you are interested in renting the property and willing to work with me despite my absence kindly get back to me ASAP so I can forward the Rental Application and the steps in renting my home. Feel free to reach me on my Cell Phone # (614) 238-8625. Regards, Janet E. Jusino
RED FLAGS I GOT AFTER READING THIS:
1. The amount of typos in the email!
2. They were located in NY and couldn’t show the property.
3. There were no photos of the interior.
4. I called the number and the voice-mail was for a man with an African accent (the sender’s name was “Janet”).
5. I sent two emails and there was no response; I finally asked for photos and was sent two copies of the rental agreement and that was it.
There were a string of emails after this one, but the next red flag was the fact that they wanted me to send rent payments to their Western Union Account (NEVER DO THIS!!!). By this time I realized that this was a fake listing. To confirm this, I clicked on the original Craigslist ad and the following disclaimer popped up, “This ad has been flagged for removal.” The other listings I inquired about came back with the same story. The owner was relocated for work, had no pictures of the interior and two had the SAME email response letting me know that they were relocated in West Africa.