Flat rental possible scam?

24 posts in this topic

I have been requesting flats for a time now and got an email from someone offering me a flat, we have been discussing for a bit now and the person told me her daughter moved out so now she rents the apartment. However, she states that she is in Greece and can only come over if I show I have the money to be able to afford the apartment. She sent me this in one of her emails which for me it seems super odd and pretty much like a scam, what do you think?

 

Dear Juan David,

If you're really interested and decided, you can secure the apartment from now on, and I will keep it available for you until we meet.

It is unfortunate that my past bitter experience of inviting people to come and view my apartment without any form of confirmation of their financial ability and not keeping up to time as at when scheduled, has brought about great loss to me.

I'm sure you are honest person so please don't understand me wrong but some tenants are not really decided or do not have the money to pay the rent and yet they disturb me to arrange a viewing with their friends.

My husband and I have decided to carry out a simple test on seriousness and financial ability before coming for viewing.

I want to be sure that when we'll meet in Munich, it might be a chance that we'll do the renting papers, sign the renting contract, give you the keys and return to my home if you really like the flat conditions. I will not ask for money in advance before moving in, I don't need any deposit from you or pay me any money at all.  

But as a warranty that you really can afford to rent my apartment, I require that you arrange a money transfer, on your name!

Because I used this system with my daughter when she lived in Munich, here is what I propose:

A family member must find the nearest Western Union office, and send you a money transfer with the cost of the security deposit + first month's rent ( 1000 € + 570 € = 1570 € ) sent to you, and on your name.

This transfer will be a warranty, so I can be sure that you will wait for me in Munich when I will arrive.

Example of transfer:

sender’s name :  family member's name


receiver’s name :    Juan David
receiver’s address : Munich, Germany

After the transfer is done, you will receive a receipt. You have to take a picture of it and send it to me attached trough e-mail, as evidence. This proof will be enough for me to see that your interest in renting my apartment is real. 

At my turn, I will book the flight ticket immediately and send you a copy of it. Then, we will set up a place and a time when we should meet in Munich.
 
After we meet, you will inspect the apartment and if you want to keep it, we will go to a notary office and do all the needed paperwork. Then, we’ll go together to a bank branch that has a Western Union office and you will collect your money, and make a bank deposit in my personal account where I want to receive the rent payment monthly.

Please note that I will pay for the notary fees when signing the rental contract.

Thanks for your time and understanding,
Flora

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Yes this is a scam!  Stay away!

 

It is good that your suspicion was raised enough to post on here and that you asked before you were taken for a ride.

 

Edit:

Most scams involve somebody who is "out of the country" for some reason.  Some this should always raise a flag.

 

Report it to the agency/website where you found it so that others don't fall victim and the user can be banned.  It at least disrupts them.

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It is clearly a scam, they can still claim the money with the transaction code.

 

Signing the renting contract at a notary?   It is not like that here.  

 

Bank with Wester Union office?  Again not normal here, they do not have a W.U. "office", they just provide W.U. services.

 

If you check the apartment ad carefully you will probably find things that are not normal here, like the apartment has air conditioning, and so on

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Local media suggests apartment offer scams are really common at the moment,  so be very cautious.

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5 minutes ago, dj_jay_smith said:

Report it to the agency/website where you found it so that others don't fall victim and the user can be banned.  It at least disrupts them.

I think I'd take it to the police actually.

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19 minutes ago, Krieg said:

If you check the apartment ad carefully you will probably find things that are not normal here, like the apartment has air conditioning, and so on

 

There probably isn't an apartment.

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Just now, fraufruit said:

 

There probably isn't an apartment.

 

There is an apartment.  Probably not in Germany, and for sure, it does not belong to Flora.

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1 hour ago, Juan David said:

But as a warranty that you really can afford to rent my apartment, I require that you arrange a money transfer, on your name!

After the transfer is done, you will receive a receipt. You have to take a picture of it and send it to me attached trough e-mail, as evidence.

 

Noooooooo!!!!! Classic scam!!!! They will collect the money with that receipt!

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It's 100% a scam but if you want to "catch" the scammer, get someone to send you money through Western Union, take a photo of the receipt and then collect the money yourself before you send the photo.  If the scammer then complains that you had already collected the money, you can ask them how they know unless they tried to collect it themselves which wasn't a part of the bargain.

 

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Just now, fraufruit said:

How would that "catch" the scammer, LeonG?

 

What I mean by "catching" is that the OP has gotten verification that it was indeed a scammer in case they had some doubt.

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2 hours ago, LeonG said:

 

What I mean by "catching" is that the OP has gotten verification that it was indeed a scammer in case they had some doubt.

That's a lot of work for what's 100% a scam ;)

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SCAM!

 

They gain your trust by ensuring the money transfer has to be made to a relative/friend of yours, but then they ask you to show them the payment receipt as confirmation that you have enough money to rent, except they can go to any Western Union office and receive money using that unique number on the receipt. Last time I checked, Western Union does not check who picks up the cash, as long as they are presented with a number.

 

While Western Union in itself CAN be used for a good end, it must absolutely not be used to make payments to strangers. Red flags should be raised left and right whenever Western Union or MoneyGram are mentioned as payment methods.

 

I came across this scam about 10 years ago, when a nice apartment was being offered in a very central city area for a price well below average. That alone was sufficient to raise the above mentioned red flags.

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Interestingly I had similar experience with a landlady from Greece, her daughter moved out etc. And some potential tenant let her down. As I already found a flat so we hadn’t reached western union stage. I haven’t suspected anything until I see this post. 

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14 hours ago, elattal said:

You could search in Toytown with an exact excerpt of this text, to know that your scammer has been here 3 years ago:

 

or elsewhere

I looked up the thread posted, yes the email used exact same text as scam. But she skipped the bit about signing contract in notary etc. ( too obvious now) photos of the flat attached so it looked really legitimate!

 

 

“Hello,

I am able to set up a viewing early next week, as per your convenience.

The apartment is furnished and equipped. I have the option of moving the furniture into storage, if you want to bring your own (we have a keller in the basement).

My daughter spent a couple of years in Munich, studying and working for an international sales company. I'm renting the place, as she is starting a new business on her own in our home country Greece.

I am the owner of the place, therefore you can register at our address (Anmeldung) without any problem.

This is the second time when I try to rent my apartment, I almost had a "deal" with a "nice couple" before, who said that they would definitely rent the apartment and convinced me to come over to Germany. So I got a plane ticket and they didn't show up. I lost money and precious time on their promise.

So don't get me wrong and don't take it personally, but I don't want to fall for it once more. I just need to be sure of your seriousness.

I am interested in knowing how long of a lease are you looking for, and with whom are you going to live in the apartment.

Also where are you from?

Regards,
Ana Karina”

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5 hours ago, Qianh said:

photos of the flat attached so it looked really legitimate!

Always - ALWAYS - run any pictures they send you or post on Immobilienscout (etc.) through Google Image Search. If it's a scam, Google will find them in someone else's ad.

 

BTW: I'm afraid Leon's suggestion is not very good. Too much risk that you could lose your money for very little potential gain.

 

Likewise, optimista's suggestion of involving the police would be a waste of everyone's time at this stage, given that the perps are most likely in Africa or somewhere else outside their jurisdiction. The main thing is that you report the ad to the site operator and have it taken down.

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6 hours ago, Qianh said:

(we have a keller in the basement).

 

And I have a Wohnzimmer in my living room.

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