PSA- Roommate Scam

I’ve gotten a couple of emails lately regarding something that at a closer look appears to be some sort of scam targeted at bloggers. I’m not sure but after the 3rd or 4th email exchange I’m sure I’ll have a better clue. When something in the emails tipped me off, I started looking to see if this was a scam I hadn’t heard of I found sites regarding scam emails I’ve gotten before.
I’ve had roommates all my adult life. The longest I’ve ever been without a roommate is 1 year. So this means advertising for roommates in the City Paper, and Craigslist. I’ve gone through enough roommates and had to advertise for enough roommates to get 3 kinds of scam emails. So as a public service, I present:
Scam #1- Fashion Model Abroad
She’s fun, fabulous, out going and will be doing work in the fashionable city of Washington, DC. Sadly dah-lings, she is in the deepest of Africa with her mother and cannot be reached by phone.

Example:Thanks for the mail and i appreciate your efforts towards this .I am interested in renting your room.I will need more info from you regards to the house and also i need to know the deposit that i will be paying before i arrive,i am from ENGLAND,but currently based in west africa now with my mom because she works for a missionary school and she is posted down here,i want to move over to the US,Kindly get back to me ASAP with the deposit i need to pay because i will like to pay for the deposit before my arrival and i will like to know the total amount i will be paying for a whole year but i will like to pay the deposit first of all,I do part time modelling and also i have finished with my masters programme.I do model and i have job offers already in the US,I have my masters degree in accounting.My job will be based on contracts so i do not have to go to work all the time,I will only need to go to work 3 times in a week.

Scam #2- London Lawyer Uncle
He is contacting you on behalf of his niece who will be coming to the States. Never mind that I’m looking for a roommate and not renting an apartment. Please note different emails.

Example: — colly smith [collysmith2007@yahoo.co.uk] wrote:
Hello,
I’m Colly Dave of smith Ventures from United Kingdom.I came across your profile for your place to be rented out.I am interested in renting your place for my neice who will be coming to the US. Please answer my following questions below:
1) I will like to know if your appartment is still available
2) I will like to know the rent fee per month and if you require deposit.
3) I want to know if you accept cashier check for payment so I can make an advance payment before her arrival that will stand as commitment
4) Lastly, I will like to know more about you.
I will be very glad to have all this questions answered.
NOTE;REPLY TO collysmith2006@gmail.com

Hope to hear from you soon
Best Regards
Colly

Scam #3- Unknown money bags
Straight and to the point. They got a money order, they want to send it to you for the rent and deposit. (I tend to delete those quickly and not respond so I have no examples)

Probably Not A Scam But A Waste Of Thought- Lil’ Miss Scaredy Pants
She’s a student and wants her BFF from 3rd grade, her aunt or 2nd cousin to scope out the place for her, before she comes and applies. I’ve had these types contact me and it never pans out, so I see these responses as a waste of my time. I’m happy for Auntie M or Becky or whomever to contact me directly, but they never do, or logistics never work out.

8 thoughts on “PSA- Roommate Scam”

  1. What always amazes me about these email scams is that they don’t bother to have a native english speaker write them. Hello?! You’re claiming to be from the UK, but your English is barely decipherable. Fail.

  2. Mari,

    What are these scammers trying to get when they contact you? I’ve never rented a room, so these are new to me.

  3. They want to send a bogus money order or check. But the check is over the amount so they need a refund. They make their money on the amount over. Also depending on how stupid they think the mark may be, they may ask for SS#, bank account numbers, passwords, etc.

  4. I usually write them back with spelling/grammar corrections, and suggest some appropriate colloquialisms that might be more effective for them.

  5. These posts [the model one is VERY common] are a pain. I outright refuse to rent to anyone I don’t meet in person. Almost everyone I know who rents out a room, or a place in DC uses Craig’s List. So it is very useful, but living with strangers can be hit or miss.

  6. I have never had a tenant, but I have been a tenant in the US and UK. I guess I have always felt that the landlords were more vulnerable, since they were giving me full access to the house keys & contents of various parts of the house. But then, it is easy for them to google my name and find out that I am not an ax murderer.

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