I wrote a post of typical scams running on roommates.com and Craigslist awhile back. The other day, I received the follow e-mail:
I will start by introducing myself briefly; I am Gabriela Kann 30 years old, Am Originally from Ontario, Canada grew up in Northern Ireland, UK.
I am a Pathologist by profession, presently work for European Public Health Alliance under the inspection of W.H.O/UNICEF as a microbiologist/Researcher; I do more of humanitarian work which is out of my real profession. Moreover, I just finished a project here in Northern Ireland, UK about treatment of water and to educate Communities on intensive health-care.
The project was initiated by UNICEF in conjunction with EPHA; I led the troop to actualize the conclusion of the project. My next appointment is in the United States, I will have to move in by first week of March. Due to this reason, I had to make the posting to get a room urgently for me to get a place to live on my arrival to the states. I have some personal effect to move in such as my Desktop computer, bedroom furniture.
I get lot of acknowledgment about me been friendly, I love kids, I’m laid back, I don’t move about at nights, love reading novels and listening to the news because am very conservative about politics & entertainment.
The duration of my stay is for 12 months as my supervisor will come visiting once in awhile to get reports from me, a letter of appointment about my first assignment by my supervisor upon my arrival. Precisely, I might be working in schools, Laboratories and Hospitals.
Am writing to confirm if you still have the room available for rent……If YES, Kindly reply the following questions below:
1) I will like to have the description of the room, size, and the equipments in there.
2) I will like to have the rent fee per month plus the utilities.
3) I will also be coming with some of my furniture, electronics that is if it is allowed, like bed, book shelf because I read a lot, shoe rank etc
4) I will also like to know if you accept Cashier’s Check or Money Order so that I can contact our payment department for the payment. The company is responsible for the payment.
5) If the 4 questions are YES, I will like to know the total cost for the initial move as in first month rent plus utilities and if deposit is necessary.
6) I will like to know the major intersection
7) I will like to know as well when the place will be available and how long you wish to rent it out.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Scam or Not Scam?
What do you think? Does that sound like scam e-mail? Well to me this e-mail is definitely a scam to me. The glaring facet that makes it a scam e-mail is that they would like to know the total amount to secure the bedroom so that they can send you a money order to secure the bedroom.
I’ve never replied to one of these scam e-mails, but once you tell them where you went the money order or cashier’s check sent to, the purported roommate will send you the money order/cashier check with an amount greater than what you requested to secure the bedroom. The purported scammer, would claim they made a mistake and ask for the difference in return via a money order/cashier check.
This sounds all legitimate, but the purported roommate is sending you a counterfeit money order/cashier check and when they are requesting a money order or cashier’s check made back to them. You’re sending them your hard earned money.
For those newbie homeowners renting out their spare bedroom, if the e-mail you receive from a purported roommate plays along the lines of this e-mail. This should be the red flag going off in your head to say “hey, this is a scam, I should delete this e-mail.”
This e-mail was sent to my hotmail e-mail address from someone on roommmates.com. How do I know? Because the subject headline said “roommates.com.” I’m assuming they found my e-mail from the comments section of roommates.com profile. I put my real address their so that prospective roommates can e-mail me so that I didn’t have to pay for a subscription to make contact with a roommate.
I’ve never responded to one of these e-mails, but I kind of want to play along with this scammer. What do you think? Should I reply knowing that it’s a scammer?