Currently Engaging a Rental Scammer -- need advice

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Fakelandlordhunter
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Currently Engaging a Rental Scammer -- need advice

Post by Fakelandlordhunter » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:50 pm

Morning,

Had a narrow escape from a rental scammer this week and wanted some advice:

My girlfriend and I were looking at houses for rent on Craigslist (of course) and saw a typical "too good to be true" offer from a man who claimed to be the owner of a small one-story house in a nice neighborhood -- only $850 in rent, utilities included -- just no A/C.

He asked to meet us in person, but canceled last minute the first time. Second time, we agreed to meet Wednesday morning -- guy kept texting us saying he was in traffic, then changed his story last minute, saying he couldn't make it after all or he'd miss a flight he had that day (but still wanted to "make things work" lol).

Long story short: we called the realtor who owned the property (found him online) and he said he'd gotten three complaints about the guy -- one woman bought the story but was so desperate she paid for him to send her the keys and lost the "security deposit."

Thing is: he never got my information. The local police said there's nothing they can do and the Craiglist ad is still there. I and the other people who reported him have tried flagging the ad, but it just keeps popping up.

So: since only my girlfriend contacted this guy, and he doesn't know anything about me, I decided to make a fake email address, under a fake name -- and replied to the Craigslist ad. I am currently in the opening stages of communicating with him -- say email reply, says he wants to meet at the property very soon, etc -- and when he doesn't show up, he'll ask me to wire the funds.

On my end, I already have retraced his phone number (that he texted GF from) and found his address and his real name. The previous woman who reached out to him also said she got wiring information from him before she sent money.

My question is: is this enough? Should I give the name/address to some authority? Or try to get his bank account number for the "wire transfer," and go from there? So far I've got him pretty much in a corner -- I'm just new to this and don't know how to proceed.

Thanks for reading. ;)

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Kitty La Gore
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Re: Currently Engaging a Rental Scammer -- need advice

Post by Kitty La Gore » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:24 pm

Hello Fakelandlordhunter,

I'm so sorry this happened to you, but it sounds like you did everything right by calling the real property owner and keeping your eyes open for things that sounded fishy. It's helpful to report this to our sister site, Scamwarners which has an entire section dedicated to rental scams. Unfortunately, these types of scams pop up all over and are typically short-lived as they are often exposed on Craigslist with a warning about stolen images from home listings or rental listings.

We don't typically encourage baiting a lad that you've been in touch with in real life, but I'm glad you did this safely. Keep in mind the "real name" may not actually be the scammer, but another innocent party whose phone has been stolen, or whose identity has been spoofed. Yes, hand over the information to authorities but be aware they may not be able to tell you what takes place after that. If the person who has received information about a transfer can confirm the same name as on the phone, police will be interested in that as well. In addition, if you believe this money transfer information did indeed come from the scammer, you can send that information to a moderator here and we can forward that on to experts who know how to pursue those leads.

Kitty
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Fakelandlordhunter
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Re: Currently Engaging a Rental Scammer -- need advice

Post by Fakelandlordhunter » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:24 pm

Removed full quote of previous message. Just think of this as an ongoing conversation - Bertje


I will absolutely do that, and thank you so much. At this point, my only fears are in regards to my girlfriend's phone number and address having been revealed -- but they have absolutely no information other than that and I hope they don't have enough to cause her any trouble.

Also thanks for the advice -- I wasn't planning to make any assumptions about the person's name or address but I'm sure the authorities will know what to do with it, even if they can't tell me.

I'll update the scamtracker soon as I get the confirmation email.

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