Have you ever been scammed? I have! And let me tell you, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. There is a sense of violation that I felt knowing that someone took advantage of my ignorance. No! I wasn’t stupid – because I didn’t know. I was simply ignorant to the fact that the matter they were inviting me into was one that warranted my defenses. The crazy thing is…the scams are becoming more and more sophisticated, especially with the economy in the condition that it’s in. The need for stability has never been greater than now. 401k’s are being depleted – used as compensation to the old school pension (another broken system), causing more and more people to live hand to mouth in these tough times. So why is that people would hustle someone they know doesn’t have the money to even pay them back? It’s plain evil!
Here are a couple of emails from an apartment scam. Yup! People are posting apartments for rent on the internet, collecting deposits and running off with the money. I am a witness to this – only a witness. I smelled a rat right off the bat.I was looking for a place for me and Noah and I submitted an inquiry to a few listings. The photos looked great, the neighborhoods were more than desirable and the asking price was within reach. Once I inquired, the “Landlord” sent back an immediate response. At face value, there was a problem and it seemed to get worse as the other “Landlords” subsequently responded. Here are the ACTUAL emails:
Sorry for my late response, I am Pastor Brown,I got your email about renting my one bedroom.
I will like to tell you a little about me and my wife,My wife and i work with the CHRISTIAN AID MISSION,we are one of the few people posted to west Africa for missionary work,this one bedroom have been locked up since the day we left the country for Africa,so we really need someone who can take very good care of the place to move in as soon as possible.We are easy going people and we respect others a lot,we also accept pets if you have any.We need you to assure us that you will take care of our precious home as if its your own place,that is the reason why we brought down the rent price,money is not our problem we just need a nice and neat person to take very good care of the place for us.
This one bedroom is located at:**** South Sepulveda Blvd Culver City, CA 90230
And we are giving this one bedroom out for $600,it is well furnished and has a master bedroom,a spacious bathroom and a contemporary Kitchens with Built-In Microwaves.Our formal agent almost sold out this one bedroom so we sacked him and decided that we will deal directly with our tenants so we have our keys and flat documents here with us,Once you make the first month deposit payment we will ship the keys and flat documents to your present address (keys and flat documents will be shipped to your present address via FEDEX) you cannot go see the inside of the place for now,you can only drive by the building,as i left a very strong instruction for the securities not to let anyone roam about the apartment,unless he or she have the keys and the flat documents with my signature 0n it,anyone found roaming or even pointing at the place might be embarrased/arrested by the security guards.
If you for example make payment today,i will go and ship the keys to you immediately and email you the shipping details from the shipping company to assure you that the keys and flat documents have been shipped to you,if the keys get shipped today for example it will get to your present by 12 pm tomorrow.If you are comfortable with our conditions and really want to rent the place,email my wife now on Email@yahoo.com so that she can email you the RENTAL APPLICATION,I must let you know that we have 23 other people interested in this one bedroom,we get so many emails and calls from people begging to take the place.So you need to fill the rental application form and send it back to us on time so that we can move to the next step,we want to give the place out to the best and first tenant to make a the first month deposit payment,we need your full co-operation if you want to rent our place.
So you can just walk by or drive by the building for now,once we ship you the keys you can go view the inside and if you don’t like it once you send back our keys we will refund your money.I have attached the pictures of this one bedroom to this email and i assure you that you will never regret renting our one bedroom.Call me now on (international number) so that we can talk about my one bedroom on the phone ok.
*Moments later, this email came in:
I am Mr Johnson the owner of the Apartment you are making enquiries of. Actually I resided in the apartment with my family with my wife and my only daughter before and presently we had packed due to my transfer from my working place and now situated in New Jersey, USA. And presently my Apartment is still available for rent including the utilities like hydro, washer, security. Presently am in West Africa for a Crusade and I will like you to get in touch with my wife in New Jersey, Usa. For more information,she is with the keys/document to the apartment. we’re kind and honest family & respectful people and also spent a lot on our property that we want to give you for rent, I will solicit your absolute mentainance of this apartment and i want you to treat it as your own, if it’s taken by you, money is not the main problem but we want you to keep it tidy for us, so we can be glad even when we return. I also want to have trust in you as I always stand on my word.Address:- **** Stoney Creek Road #439, Culver City CA 90230.
Thanks for your email an interest in renting our home,we are small christian family and we are into Gospel Music and currently we are on tour around Europe and Africa to raise funds to supports the Less Priviliage, poeple living with HIV/AIDS,Poor,and the Needy.We need a clean responsible person that we can trust to take a proper care of the home at all time because we will be spending a long time around the world and also we intend to relocate immediately when we come back.Utilities are included in the rent.Below is the rental application please fill it and get back to me ASAP if you are interested renting our home..
Pls let me get this answer.
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) Our prefer method of payment? Western Union or Money Gram?
10) When do you intend moving in?
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that I can have it in my file incase 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. We are giving you all this base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words, you know that, we do not see yet and only putting everything into God’s hand, so please do not let us down with our property and God bless you more as you do this.
Regards.N:B:please note this that you cant go inside the house because the keys are right here with us but feel free to go view the exterior of the house and upon approval the keys will be send to you.
RED FLAG! RED FLAG!! RED FLAG!!!
Is everyone in Africa on a crusade? Whatever! Sadly, these scams originate in Nigeria. It is a well known scam-hub, taking people for sums of money that are completely embarrassing. See this clip from MSNBC Chris Hansen.
I’m actually really sad to have to even share this information. I know the living conditions in Nigeria are deplorable but I cannot make excuses for robbing people blind who don’t deserve to be treated in such a way. And granted, this is just one of many things people are doing to take advantage of the unsuspecting. There are so many scams out there that we have to do like Christ did and walk circumspectly. Hmph…my solution: BEAT ‘EM! Beat ’em like Ceily told Harpo to beat Sophia. Beat ’em! LOL. These people need to get a real job and stop trying to steal money from people. Times are tough…for everyone. If you have THAT much sense to ponder on ways to suck money out of people who barely have a pot to…you know the rest, then you can use that same creative thinking to make large sums of money – legally. I’m just saying…