“Scammers primarily rely on two types of rental scams:
- Hijacked listings: A hijacked listing copies a legitimate advertisement–photos, location, description–and posts it on another website with different contact information. This type of scam seems legitimate because it mimics a real property, but the person you are communicating with is a scammer, not the owner.
- Phantom rentals: A phantom rental is a listing that uses photos of a property that is not located at the advertised address. This scam attempts to steal your money or information before you find out the property does not exist.
Both types of these scams lure renters with extremely low rental prices and lavish amenities. Once they have your attention, they request money (such as an application fee) or financial information for the property they cannot deliver. Victims sometimes don’t even realize they have been cheated until they show up to the property and find that it does not exist or is not for rent.
Tips to Avoid Rental Scams
Good deals on rentals do exist, but make sure you do your research to make an informed decision. Here are some tips to avoid being scammed: (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek
From DC Water:
“DC Water is warning customers that scammers claiming to represent the utility may be calling and asking for personal information or requesting to send a technician to the home. DC Water has received several reports from customers who stated they received such a call and one customer received an at-home visit from someone claiming he was from the water/electric utility and was checking for high water use. DC Water did not make the calls nor send a technician. Further, we are not associated with an electric provider.
Another more recent scam followed the boil water advisory of July 13-15. In this scam, individuals are attempting to sell water filters and solicit social security numbers. Please be vigilant of solicitors to your home and do not give out your personal information to anyone.
Customers should be aware of the following information: (more…)
Thought I’d flag a suspicious Craiglist apartment listing. Another example of a listing being too good to be true, I suspect. The price and lack of pictures made me suspicious–other multi-bedroom units in the building go for well over $2800. The initial email claiming to have sent multiple messages through Craiglist’s email relay seemed fishy. The follow-up emails raised my hackles–erratic use of punctuation (though these days…), strange diction, a promise to run a background check before even applying, etc. Maybe I’m too suspicious–the embedded links and email address all checked out; they didn’t appear to redirect to a suspicious website. But I flagged the post for Craigslist and thought it’d be valuable to warn the PoPville community, nonetheless. When something seems too good to be true, well…it’s gotta be, right?
Looks like Craigslist took it down.”
Ed. Note: A good reminder to be alert and never send deposits, first month’s rent etc. without seeing the unit in person first. My wife has a colleague who recently moved to D.C. from out of town and when they went to move in to their apartment they were told, “what are you talking about, this unit is not vacant.”
Just a heads up, “Dr. Doug Scott” has now shown up in Bloomingdale on Quincy Place NW. He just rang our doorbell with the same scam story about leaving his suit jacket with his keys, phone, and money in a coworkers car. When he realized he wasn’t going to get money from us, he requested to use a phone to call Whitman Walker, which, we declined. (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC
“DC Water is warning customers that scammers claiming to represent the utility may be calling and asking for personal information or to send a technician to the home. DC Water has received two reports from customers who stated they received such a call and one customer received an at-home visit from someone claiming he was from the water/electric utility and was checking for high water use. DC Water did not make the calls nor send a technician. Further, we are not associated with an electric provider.
Customers should be aware of the following information: (more…)
“Doug” last year, more photos here
Just giving PoPVille a heads up-Doug the scammer is back at it. This time he’s made it all the way over to Eckington and the quiet block of Quincy Place. He came to my place around 10 pm this evening, said his name was Doug and that he is my neighbor who “very stupidly got locked out” and doesn’t have a phone. Great acting, dressed well, spoke quickly and clearly-overall very convincing…except for the fact that I have read about him on PoPville before. The pictures matched what I saw on my front door camera so I told him that I absolutely couldn’t help and that he needed to get off my porch. Thanks PoPville community for keeping me safe tonight!”
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mark Andre
“Doug” the scammer is loose on Q Street. Just chased him away from our house just down from Dacha. Calling himself “Dr. Doug Scott” and that he needs to make a call since he left his suit somewhere blah blah blah. The pic you have from Jan 16 is spot on except he’s now wearing glasses. He rang the bell and when I opened the outer door (since I thought it was UPS) he stuck his foot in the door and began his pitch. I called him out as a scammer and that the whole neighborhood was aware of him. He got real quiet and backed away slowly. The Hubby was a little taken aback by how forceful I was but then I showed him the photo and your ongoing coverage and I mentioned he shoved his foot in the door. I did call the cops.”
From the Whitman-Walker Health:
“Thank you for publishing this piece on Doug/Gene. I wanted to offer an update that this individual is not a Whitman-Walker employee and has not been on staff with us.
We appreciate you bringing light to this story as we’ve learned of their scams.”
I hadn’t read the article!!!!! Lesson learned — read PoPville DAILY.
Same speil. His name was “Doug.” He “lives down the street” — and I know most of the people on my street, so I was a little hesitant. My two HUGE dogs barking in the background — door open in case I needed them to attack.
He was “jumped by two black kids. I already called the cops. But I just realize they took my wallet and car keys” — it didn’t make much sense. He needed money to get to Springfield, VA to get his car. Again — no sense. I gave him $10 thinking he was a new tenant in my neighbor’s house about 10 houses down.
I gave him my metro card. Then immediately went on-line and canceled the card and transferred my money off that card to another one (another lesson — register your Metro cards).
He was wearing a dress shirt and tie and a leather jacket, I think. Big blood spot on the side of his head where the “kids hurt him.”
He “works for Whitman Walker Clinic as a doctor in their van they drive around town” … I believe perhaps that’s the van he said he needed to pick up.
I live just east of NoMa in the H Street Corridor.”
Capitol Phil also reported last night:
““Doug” is still at it. Visited neighbor near 4th/M NE last night. Claimed to be a Whitman Walker doctor & said he was jumped by two guys earlier.”