Saturday, May 11, 2013

Craigslist Housing Scam

 Checking Craigslist for available apartments to rent, I found this ad:

Reply To: sedraedward@rocketmail.com

$645 / 1br - waikiki -Ala Wai Condo for Rent (2609 Ala Wai Blvd)

Posted: 2013-05-10, 8:33PM HST

Clean 1 bedroom, 1 bath on 8th floor of 12 story secure condo building, partly furnished, secured covered parking, large lanai, newer cabinets, carpet, tile floors and refrigerator. Near zoo and Kapiolani Park with slight view of Diamond Head from living, dining and lanai areas. Coin-operated laundry in building basement. Includes water. Cable ready, Pets. One month securty deposit required at lease signing with first month rent. Six month lease
  • dogs are OK - wooof
  • Location: 2609 Ala Wai Blvd
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Posting ID: 3798100454

Posted: 2013-05-10, 8:33PM HST

A quick Internet search for the email address provided showed several other ads that had been placed by this person in the recent past, but which had all been flagged and removed. So, I had immediate doubts as to the authenticity of the ad and its author. Nevertheless, I sent an inquiry to the provided address and received this reply:
From: Edra Edward Satromino sedraedward@rocketmail.com
Hello,
                  Thank you for the most eloquent response to my listing, I'm the owner of the apartment you are making inquiry of. Actually me and my wife  resided in the apartment, before i lost My Wife in a ghastly  motor accident so i had to decide to let it out since i alone can not live alone in my apartment and i have just been transferred to Cincinnati Ohio  State due to my work so i don't want my apartment to be there without no one living in my apartment that's why i intend renting out my apartment to whoever is interested in renting my apartment and It includes  utilities like hydro, washer and security, I have my furniture in the apartment. if you which to move in with your furnished items there is a storage area where you can move my furniture's, no problem. Please i want you to note that i am a kind and honest  young man and also from the photos you should know that i must have spent a fortune on the property that i want to give you for rent, i will want you to take absolute care of my apartment and I want you to treat it as your own, as trust is the most important thing but i want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for  check up.All utilities included except electric (Heat, A/C, Gas, Cable, High Speed, Internet, Water, Sewer, Trash Removal).

                                             ========  RENT APPLICATION FORM ============
                                                                    PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL

Also,Pls answer these questions below:
* 1)Your Full Name__________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone
Number________________________ ______
3)How old are you _____________________________
4)Are you married ______________________________ _____
5)How many people will be living in the Home__________________________ _
6)Do you have a pet ______________________________ ___________
7)Do you have a car ______________________________ ____________
8)Occupation ______________________________ ___________________
9)How long are you willing to stay ______________________________
___________
10)When do you intend to move in ______________________________ ___________
11)Rental Payment plan ranging from 1 month, 3 months or 6 months or 1
year...(indicate most convenient
option)_______________________ __________________

12) Pictures of all the Occupant that will stay in my
Home__________________________
____________
13) Copy of Photo ID..(Optional)*

Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it
in my file incase of issuing the receipt in your name and contacting
you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how i  will get the
documents and the keys to you.please I  am giving you all this based on
trust and again i want you to stick to your words,i am putting everything
into Gods hand,so please do not let me down on this property of mine and God
bless you more as you do this.

Regard
The obviously self-made "application" is a big Red Flag for me, as well as the flowery language used as well as an appeal to sympathy by the mention of a supposed wife tragically killed in an auto accident. Notice that no phone number is provided.

An IP trace indicates that the message originated from the East Coast of the Untied States, not Ohio, although it's possible that Rocketmail could mask your IP.

For the record, an apartment in this building will normally run about $2000+ per month and utilities are typically added on top of that. Asking less than a thousand dollars a month is a sweetheart deal that's simply too good to be true and so, therefore, isn't. Nobody is going to rent-out a two million dollar condo for less than $700 a month! Besides, an out-of-state condo owner would employ a rental agent to handle matters like this, rather than doing it all via the Internet themselves.

This looks like a scam.

Duane Browning
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