Scam Alert

Maybe some of you have heard about this scam before and this is old news, but for the rest of you, watch out for this. Last week I posted an ad on Craigslist for my listing on Aviador in Millbrae. The house is for sale. On Saturday, somebody else took one of the photos of this house and created a “for rent” ad offering the place at $1000.00 a month. They also had a “reply to” e-mail address that used the seller’s name attached to a Yahoo address. This e-mail address was created for this particular scam. My clients knew nothing about their house being for rent. As this scam goes, you as an interested party will be asked to send money as a deposit to hold this property…and of course you’ll lose it. Here’s what you’ll receive when you reply to the ad:

Thanks for emailing me regarding the house is still available, but presently I’m on business trip to Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia. I bid for a portion of petroleum land sometimes ago in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia and fortunately I won, so I have to move quickly down to Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia to have my company set up. I came over here with my wife, we both bought the house when we got married. As soon as we settle down here I had a thought of selling the house, so I have to look for an agent and getting one we strike a deal but later my wife advised me on selling the house. I reasoned with her and accepted her advice. So I contacted the agent back and requested for my keys and documents. Later we decided to have the house rent out, we would have given the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later and more some I do not have anyone in the area I can leave the keys behind with so that is why I posted ad myself. If you notice, you will discover that the price we are offering is far below standard price and I this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property. I know there is no way I can be sure that you are the right person to live in the house because we won’t be able to see physical before sending you the keys and the documents to occupy the space. The house is available for as long as you want and if you drive by the house you may see a sign there, you have nothing to worry about it belongs to my previous agent so you have absolutely nothing to worry about and you don’t have to call them because they do not have access to the house anymore.Please if you are ready now to occupy the house kindly provide the information below for record purpose

Full Name__________________________________________________ Home Phone ( ) ________________________
Date of Birth_________________________________
Other Phone ( ) ___________________
Current Address_______________________________Apt#________ City__________________ State______ Zip________
Reasons for Leaving____________________________Rent $__________Phone ( ) ____________________________
Are you married____________________________
How many people will be living in the house____________________________
Do you have a pet____________________________
Do you have a car____________________________
Move In Date____________________________

You Can Contact Me On
Best Regards.

There’s something I’ve always noticed about these craigslist scams, The english in the text always seems to not quite be correct. The syntax seems to be off to me. Anyway, I must have fielded 10 calls from this scam because so mmany people were intrigued by the low price that they drove over to the house to see it. When they did that, of course, they saw my sign and called via the phone number on it. It’s all really pretty creepy and I can sure see how easy it would be to get taken in by this. Once again, if something sounds too good to be true…it probably is. Craigslist, when informed about this, took the ad down.


  1. That broken English is always the dead give away. You’d think if these idiots could come up with such an elaborate plan they’d at least hire a proof-reader. But then, of course, they wouldn’t be idiots. Maybe you’ll meet some potential buyer’s this way and it will be a blessing in disguise.

  2. Tamara Schuster says:

    So sorry to hear about scams but as you indicated there are flags when you look closer.

  3. Also, the old adage applies here: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

  4. Fran Rokicki says:

    Jim, Yes! I had this happen to me with one of my listings! The local police were called by my client and stopped the scammers! They told her that it is very common. Jeepers!

  5. Kay Van Kampen says:

    Jim, this has happened to me too. I almost stopped placing our listings on Craigslist for that reason. One thing we can do is to stamp our photos and give them a reason not to use them.

  6. Yes, same email was sent to me this week, it was def to good to be true, I saw the house in person and was def underpriced here is a response back to me being supposedly accepted applicant:

    Dear Tenant,

    Thank you so much for your application response! I’m happy to announce to you that you have been accepted to rent my home and you can move in now! Now that you are moving into the house,  your lease/rental agreement requires that you stay in the house as long as you wish to stay, The house is clean and undamaged condition. I tried to call your cell phone to explain to you but nobody is picking my calls. here are the pictures.

    First of all i want you to know that we are a a very good Christian the money is not our problem but we need a perfect caring person that can take very good care of Our property. we are  OK with everything you have said,but i want you to have the keys and documents  before June and it will enable me have rest of mind that i have someone reliable and trustworthy that will be taking proper care of the Property. 

    I will like to have the have the security deposit and first month rent right now for the keys and document to ship out the packages. so i can know no that you really want the house, because they are so many people that want the house but i really want you to have the house because i see that you are honest and God fearing, so please get back to me if you are ready to send the deposit payment for the keys and document and i will want you to do that so that you can have the keys and document next day delivery through DHL SERVICE.

    Kindly e-mail me the information on where I am going to send the keys to and then I will send you information on how to send the money through Western Union money transfer so it can be more faster then I can send you the keys in time.

    Here are the contents that will be delivered to you via DHL courier service.
    1) Entrance and the rooms Keys
    2) Paper/Permanent House form(Containing your reference details)
    3) The House documented file.
    4) Payment Receipt.

    Notice that all your information will be forwarded to the shipping company. I  will be waiting to hear from you.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Thank You.

  7. I just got the exact email listed above for a home in San Mateo. They include that if you go by the home there’s a sign from the old agent and to not bother to call them because they don’t have the access to the property anymore. Couldn’t believe it.

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