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“So heads up babies and be safe this summer of renting!”

by Prince Of Petworth July 19, 2016 at 1:45 pm 22 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Andrew Pasko-Reader

“Hello boys and girls, just want to do an annual Craigslist apartment awareness topic. So, I recently stumbled across this: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5633523037.html, a SEEMINGLY too good to be true kinda deal, and after checking in with the “realtors” I received this ultra-shady e-mail:

Thank you for your interest in the property listed for rent. You were the second to reach out from the ad. The first prospective tenant no longer had to move because of his work situation. So we give the opportunity to you. We just finished all new renovations and are currently prepared to lease with flexible terms. We will work with you on move in date, lease length and security deposit.

I know you desire the precise address of the property but my husband does not want me divulge due to security reasons. We have had a string of break-ins, squatters and thefts at our other properties. We want to prevent that with this property due to the renovations that have cost lots of money. You will be the first to move in with the renovations. That is why we want to confirm you have your updated report before we schedule a tour.

All utilities are priced into the lease along with garage parking spaces. The appliances in the kitchen as well as laundry room were just installed. You have the option to choose your paint color and flooring before your arrival

When you want to come look at the place, then please visit the link below and grab your report. All of our tenants use this site because it is widely trusted. All you need to do is fill out the form and you get your report We aren’t interested in specifics of your report, it’s more of a formality to ensure you have rental history. Simply get your report by CLICKING HERE

Do not send me the report over mail, bring it to the tour. Once you let me know that you have your report ready, then I can personally schedule a walk through of the place.

So guys, what we have here is a website that collects “renter’s scores” by obtaining credit card information and an e-mail that now DEFINITELY seems too good to be true (pick your color? garage parking?? utilities all for $1250?!?!?!?).

Notice how she was vague with the address but gave a fairly legitimate reason for not doing so, and how they don’t want to meet up until they have your score? yeah guys, no go. I know a lot of here are experienced in the CL scamming ring for renting, but it seems that the bots have gotten a bit better at wearing their hoo-man skins. So, for all those who just moved here, be wary of posts like this and ESPECIALLY responses like this – a lot of landlords care about credit, but they also tend to want to meet you first.

So heads up babies and be safe this summer of renting!”

You can see all forum topics and add your own here. If you are having trouble uploading your question please email me at princeofpetworth(at)gmail Please Note this is NOT an events calendar.

  • C

    Haha, I got the same email from another Craigslist apartment listing a few weeks. 99.9% of the time, if it’s too good to be true, trust your instincts.

  • Anon

    I got this exact same email 4 years ago when I first moved to DC.

  • jaseguy

    “Babies… before we’re done here, y’all be wearing gold-plated diapers.”

  • God Bless the Chickpea

    Got this email in May! I always like to play along for a bit and point out flaws in their reasoning.

  • Shawtopetworth

    I got this email last month, too. Clearly a scam to click on the link and have your info stolen. For curiosity sake, emailed the person back to have them verify the website and what it was for. Of course, no response.

  • Ethelred the Unready

    Definitely got the same e-mail while I was looking a few weeks ago, as did my girlfriend at the same time for a different apartment… so I used my go to move for an obvious scam. Take the e-mail address (or real address, or phone number, whatever you’ve got) and register it with all the terrible groups and organizations you can think of.

    In an ideal world, I set the scientologists on the dick trying to pull this scam. Unlikely, but a man can dream!

    • ANC

      +1 You’re doing important work.

  • Linc Park SE

    CL is FULL or erroneous rental postings. I like the ones that claim to be in Eastern Market – “a short walk to the Zoo and Dupont Circle restaurants” or an apartment photo with a view of a skyscraper. It’s almost useless to hunt for abodes on it.

    • TheRooster

      We did find our rent-stablized 2 bedroom for $1100 a month on CL, so there are occasional good deals. Usually gone in a day or two though.

      • anon

        + 1 Found my 2bd for 1600 on cl as well
        They usually have similar formatting and/or bad location info. Easy enough to avoid.

    • Count of Mount (VSq)

      CL is the only place I recommend for apt hunting (that and rental agencies’s websites) unless you want to live in a giant expensive complex…although its best for roommate searches.

      Once you get some experience, its easy to avoid to scammers.

  • Wednesday Addams-Morgan

    I got one of these too! Super scammy and I just ignored it. I love the idea that after I’ve learned these landlords have serious problems with “break-ins, squatters, and thefts”, I’ll still be super enthusiastic to rent from them.

    • JoDa

      Didn’t think about that, but so true. “We’ve experienced a ton of crime in the apartment, you’re going to just love the neighborhood!”

    • Amelia

      I got this email and had the same thought! I wanted to see if I could waste their time a little, so I wrote back, “A string of break ins, squatters, and thefts?! No thanks. I need to rent someplace safe.”

  • atlascesar

    The scam here is that the “lister” of the rental property gives the link with a referral code embedded. When people sign up for the “free” credit score, the “lister” gets a referral fee. The “free” credit score service starts charging a monthly fee after the first month I believe. My friend inadvertently succumbed to this scam, and said it was somewhat challenging to quit the “free” trial month. He had to phone in to them and wait on hold, etc, rather than just quitting online.

    • TL

      Good info — I always wondered what the actual scam was, outside of just getting your credit info.

  • jf

    You can typically tell when something is a scam. Though some are more obvious than others. When I was recently searching the tell-tale signs that I used were (1) ridiculously good deal/too good to be true (2) short, typically one paragraph description with a lot of detail on the interior, not a lot of detail on the more gritty things like utilities, parking, logistics, availability (3) small, grainy pictures or pictures that have some sort of watermark and (4) inaccurate map/neighborhood

    Sometimes you can image search a photograph and it may actually pull up whatever real estate listing it was originally from.

  • textdoc

    A similar response from a “landlord” a couple of years ago:

  • KM

    I got one of these today! Here is the link, still active: https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5684602635.html

    I actually sent it to my roommate with the subject “this can’t be right” so I’m not surprised!

    • JoDa

      That place was on the market recently. I was trying to find it and see if they lifted the listing text, too, but couldn’t locate that exact unit. Now that I see this one, I wonder if the same scam wasn’t going on with a few places in my neighborhood. They’d be sold and then show up for rent a couple months later. I assumed investors (neighborhood was priced well for that at the time), but it wouldn’t be hard to program a bot to scrape photos and text from recent sales listings.

  • jaybird

    When I read this the voice in my head sounds like Boris Badenov.

  • I got almost this exact same email from an “Olivia Petersen” about an apartment in Baltimore! I just found it in my trash folder and will be registering that email address for all kinds of terrible email subscriptions ;)


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