Apartment Scams – Beware!

If you are looking for a new home, WATCH YOUR BACK!! People are trying to steal our money! I am willing to share my personal stories and the information that I have learned to deter you from making any mistakes while you are looking for a new home. Money is easy to giveaway, but hard to get back!

On April 29th, I found a beautiful rental online. Take a look!

Image

I was impressed. The home was only $600 a month! I thought that I had found the world’s best secret. Upon finding it, I immediately sent an e-mail requesting more information. I have copied our e-mail communications about the property for your review. There are multiple grammatical errors in his e-mail, but I did not edit them. I think that you need to see them.

Me: Good Evening. I am interested in finding out more information about the home on Summer Place Drive. An address was not listed. Please provide additional information.

Thanks!

E-mail Response from Lathan Simmons (lathan_simmons@yahoo.com):

Thanks for your email. The house is still available. I decided to rent the house because we are going to spend more time here in Abuja, about 4 years.. Let me start by introducing myself. However, my name is Lathan Simmons. I and my wife own the house located at (3708 Summer Place, Raleigh NC 27604). Due to my job as a civil engineer, I work for a German company called JULIUS BERGER CONSTRUCTION CO, and now I have been transfer to West Africa to work in a branch in West Africa. I spent less time in the States so I could not get a hold on any Realtor to handle this rent issue, although it was when I knew how long we are going to stay in Africa that I decided to rent out the house. However, the initial plan was to sale out the House,which I tried, but sometimes the agents inflates the prize and it takes longer to sell. The house include the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace, Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set, Refrigerator, Canopied deck overlooking nature, internet access e.t.c. because of this reason and more we need a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money, but want it to be clean and for you to take it as if it were yours. I hope you will promise me to take very good care of my home, also I will be come once in 4 months for visit to see how you are taking care of the home, and if anything need to be repair in the home, I can fix it back! Information about the house below:

The rent is: $600 Security Deposit: $600
This 3 bedroom home
Parking type:  Garage – Attached
Pet are also Welcome.

SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW.

RENT APPLICATION FORM.
Name (First name/ Middle name/Surname ) : __________?
Phone # : __________?
Present Address : __________?
City/State : __________?
Please describe Breed, size : __________?
Personality of pet : __________?
Preferred move in date : __________?
Intended length of lease: __________?
Earliest possible date of deposit payment: __________?
Length of previous tenancy : __________?
Comment…………………………………………………

TAKE NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY DRIVE BY AND SEE MY PLACE FROM THE OUTSIDE, BUT IF YOU DRIVE BY THE HOME YOU MAY SEE A SIGN THERE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT IT BELONGS TO OUR PREVIOUS AGENT SO YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO CALL THEM BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THE HOME ANYMORE! IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RENTING GET THE TENANCY RENT APPLICATION FORM FILLED OUT AND SEND IT BACK TO ME. ALSO YOU CAN CONTACT ME AT +2348165123066 or +2347043144742

Regards,

Lathan Simmons

Me: Good Morning. I have a few questions and need a little clarity:

1) Are you implying that all business (security deposit and rent transactions) must be done over the Internet?

2) Are you saying that I will have to wait every 4 months for any repairs? Is there an emergency contact? In the case that something major fails or quits working?

3) Is it total electric?

4) Do I have to keep the furniture that is in the home?

5) Did you have a pet in the home?

6) I will call the contact information on the sign to ensure that the previous realtor does not still on it. Just for safety reasons. Will this be an issue?

Thanks!

E-mail Response from Lathan Simmons (lathan_simmons@yahoo.com):

SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW. RENT APPLICATION FORM.

Name (First name/ Middle name/Surname ) : __________?
Phone # : __________?
Present Address : __________?
City/State : __________?
Please describe Breed, size : __________?
Personality of pet : __________?
Preferred move in date : __________?
Intended length of lease: __________?
Earliest possible date of deposit payment: __________?
Length of previous tenancy : __________?

I did not share my information and have not heard from him since. I was looking for pictures to post today and found that the posting ID number no longer exists. Amazingly, I found the same home (by address) with a new posting ID number for $118,000!!! The home is “for sale” now.

Tonight, I found a lovely home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It is beautiful! I fell in love! The owner was only requesting $700 a month. Sounds good right? Take a look at the pictures.

ImageImage

There were 5 different images, but I chose the best 2. I started researching the property and found that it was on another website (trulia.com) for $1,100 more! Conflicting information was posted on 2 different sites, only 3 days apart! It was obvious to me that I had found another scam.

On trulia.com, I read multiple stories from people who lost thousands of dollars through these scams. There are a few tips on the site that are extremely helpful, such as how to define these scams (phishing scams) and how to verify that the information associated with the property is legit.  When you go to the site, be prepared to read lot!!! Phishing scams are very common.

Copy & Paste Link: http://www.trulia.com/blog/discovertrulia/2010/06/trulia_psa_tips_to_help_you_avoid_real_estate_phishing_scams

Educate yourself now to avoid regrets later.

** I appreciate craigslist.com and trulia.com for posting warnings to protect and educate renters/buyers. **

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One thought on “Apartment Scams – Beware!

  1. Pingback: More Craigslist Housing Scam Letters « Ascended Thoughts

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