Monday, January 26, 2009

Beware of fraud attempts on Craigslist (apartments, items)

I don't post that often, but I tend to think that my posts hold some interest. This time it holds the form of a warning. Because I have been recently looking for an apartment for rent, I became an unsuspecting potential victim of a scam.

The scam takes the form of an ad on Craigslist, an apartment that you just wouldn't pass out if you had the chance:

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2009-01-21, 5:56PM EST

spacious living room with chracteristic beams & solid wood floor
2 double sized bedrooms
2 Baths
walk in wardrobe
fully equipped
kitchen with built in gas cooker, oven, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, marble surface and practical cupboard space
luxury bathroom with bathtub and seaparate shower
washing machine/dryer combi
presented with solid wooden flooring throughout
inside a recognized city monument
wireless internet connection.

* cats are OK - purrr
* dogs are OK - wooof
* Location: MONTREAL
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 1002216171

I replied to this ad asking for information, and got the following reply:

My name is Daniel Dura own the 2 bedroom and 2 Baths home and its located @ 1809 Ontario Street East, Montreal H2K1T5, Quebec , Canada. and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer that makes me my wife and Son to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in west Africa, our new house and put all my worries off concerning the maintenance of the apartment for, since i am not residing there for now.I left behind some Facilities and electonics which include the rent, and a DVD player, air conditioning, alarm system. The kitchen is fully equipped with all necessary cooking utensils, arefrigerator-freezer, four-hob and oven, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine, My Computer Connected with Internet Acess Also the keys to the House are right here with me, and the lease document. Which i can send to you after all necessary agreement has be accepted. Also i will like you to know that the rent charges is not really the issue ,but your absolute maintenance of my apartment is most important thing so will want you to get back to me with the Application form below


1)Your Full Name
2)Your Full Address & Phone Number
3)How old are you?
4)Are you married?
5)How many people will be living in the house?
6)Do you have a pet?
7)Do you have a car?
9)When do you want to move in
10)How long do you want to stay in my apartment
11)Pictures of all the Occupant that will stay in my apartment

One Mr Richard Thomas called me about the apartment,I told him that I can't give him the apartment because he loves smoking,drinking and dont want him to get drunked and damaged my property one day so If you are still interested, Note that the rent is going to be $550 Per month No extra fees.I will like you to give me a call on this effect to know how serious you are.below is my phone number

002348035722842 OR +2348035722842

I personally will actually come visiting you sometimes during the year as my new tenant.

Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you. Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys of the house to you. below is some pictures of the apartment and The address of the house is 1809 Ontario Street East, Montreal H2K1T5, Quebec , Canada.

Daniel Dura
I replied to the email with proper information (thinking more and more that this was pretty suspicious), and got a call (yes, a phone call, which is pretty rare in fraud cases) and spoke to the scammer for a few minutes. He indicated that my application was accepted and that he would forward me "his secretary information" so that I could send the first and last month payment, after which he would send me keys and such to visit the apartment... Yes, it was stupid of me to send any information, but I really wanted to know if this was too good to be true. Here's the information he sent me:


Thanks very much for your reply, i can see your willingness in this rent how is work? i want you to know that money is not the problem, i will be given you the apartment in good faith.also i want you to know that the apartment is a very good and quite place to stay for you and i want you to take good care of the apartment it is very close to public transportation, grocery store and school. i want you to know that know extra bill because the $550 per month include with all utilities like Gas, Hydro, Electricity, Water and Internet and it's fully funished but you can come with your own furniture if you like as i have a storage in the apartment.I will be here in west africa for 5 years So I Have just forward all your information to my Secretary. and we both agree to take you as my new tenant because you have answered to the rent application perfectly that you are well qualified to rent the apartment. so i congratulate you for that and i am so happy that i and my wife have found a new Tenant for the Apartment. But i want you to know we spend alot on this property so we want you to stand on your word and take good care of the apartment when you MoveIn. the apartment is pleasant neighbourhood. so we want you to know that we are not giving out this apartment because of money but we just want a God Fearing Tenant that will be taking Good care of the apartment and tidy it up. Here are the contents of the document i will be sending to your presence address.

1) Entrance and the Rooms Keys
2) Papers/Permanent house form (Containing Your Refrence Details)
3) The House Document File.
4) Payment Receipt.
5)Contract Lease agreement to be sign.
6) Full Address and Description of House.

So you will need to make the first deposit payment of $550 to my Secretary information below as soon as possible and i can confirm your payment and issue the receipt so the key of the apartment can be shipout to you as soon as possible today . and your payment will start counting the date you will be moving In. So i want you to know that you will need to look for any Western Union Store around you and send the first month deposit payment to my Secretary here below is the information's to wire the money.

Receiver name: DAN LUCKER
Receiver's address: 65 Atunrase Ave
City: Surulere
State: Lagos State
Zipcode: 23401
Country: Nigeria
Text Question : Good
Answer : Better
Amount Sending: $550

So i want you to get back to me with the weestern union confirmation as soon as you send the payment. i will be waiting to hear from you with the western union information on the receipt below:

Full Sender's Name:
Sender's address:
Text Question & Text Answer:

I will be waiting to read from you soonest. i appreciate your promise once again.
As a last blow I pointed this gentleman (or fracker, whatever you want to call "it") to a website with "scam" in the URL and his phone number on it... I asked him either to provide legal proof he was the owner of the location or else prepare to have his information forwarded to the proper authorities... To which he replied:

Thanks for your response, I want you to know that i can't scan the document of my apartment for you. i am also afraid here too just trying to secure my self too. but i will like to know if i can email you with a canadian account information so you can transfer the payment.

Evidently, it was only after all of this that I finally found all the information to put in his face, a series of other sites pointing to his obvious guilt (other posts, warnings, blog posts and such). Information that, if I had seen earlier, would have prevented me from even sending my address to this arsehole.

In any case, the word is out that this is happening here, in Montreal, and we could all be victims. Don't let your guard down!

Update 15/03/2010: It seems that he is striking again if I believe the comments. The posting on RentSpot has been removed, here's to hoping this post gets seen by more people!