The past few weeks I’ve been on the search for a new roommate because one of my roommates moved out today. I posted the room on my go to sources – Craigslist and roommates.com. Craigslist is probably by far the most popular way to advertise, but it’s not without its faults.
Craigslist is prone to scammers and one of my popular posts uncovers a common scam carried out by purported roommates. I’ve never fallen victim to the scam myself and I certainly hope no one falls victim to it. I know I’ve prevented a few people from falling victim to the scam as evident by such comments:
Because of this website, I stop short of being SCAMED. The room that I was renting out was $425.00 they sent me a check for $3,350.90. I called the company from who the check was written out, everything on the check was correct. However it was not sent from them. Just think if I had not found this website first, I would have been taken for the sum of 2,925.90. I have kept the check and all the emails, and I will be sending them to the FBI.
Thanks so much A Very Great full Gordon
Since I’ve been advertising my spare room, I’ve received several e-mails from potential roommates. Having been renting out rooms for the past several years, I’ve become astute in determining whether e-mails are from scammers or legitimate roommates. I’m always weary of e-mails that entail the following characteristics:
- From a female – All scam e-mails say they are female and in the mid-twenties, thus trying to lure in male “live-in landlords”
- Body contains a plethora of typos of slang. Probably the biggest tip off of a foreigner.
- Body contains a one line sentence “is it still available” when you clearly marked your advertisement otherwise. Cleary, they are testing to see if it’s worth sending you the full body of their “pitch” so that you take the bait.
All these are signs of scam e-mails. There’s nothing wrong with responding to them, but if at any point, you’ve become suspicious or they ask you how to secure your room. Stop all communications. It’s likely that these are scammer trying to lure you in.
TELLS OF SCAMMERS FOR ROOMMATES.COM
The scammers still lurk there, but roommates.com does a decent job of blocking scam e-mail before you read them, but if you’re astute, you can avoid these scammers.
As evident from this image, roommates.com already took the initiative to block the scam e-mail. However, their profile and such still remained.
One of the greatest things about roommates.com is the ability to read profiles of roommates before contacting. Since the profile was still there, I clicked to read more.
Their profile stated they are looking for a place to live yet their “location” is no where near my residence, thus confirming the belief it was a scammer. Thanks roommates.com from saving me from a scam.
If at time during e-mail/message exchanges asks you to e-mail them and the last few characters consist of number or characters, its most likely a scammer using a free e-mail service to communicate outside of the roommates.com internal messaging service.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU RECEIVE THESE SCAM E-MAILS?
It’s perfectly fine to respond to questionable e-mails. There’s no harm in sending and receiving e-mails. If at any point they want to send you money BEFORE moving in or meeting in person, it’s most likely a scammer at which point, you should discontinue any e-mail exchanges.
If you’ve received e-mails, I encourage you to list the e-mail address of the sender on this post so that it appears in google searches. Apparently, this is an effective way for other “live-in landlords” to find about the scam – by hoping that they are smart enough to Google the sender’s e-mail address and land on my post.