Craigslist Fraud

...Sure I'll send the deposit your way... J/K

I'm always impressed with the stories criminals come up with to swindle unsuspecting victims. Let's face it- I'm a Dateline and Law & Order SVU fanatic. It seems like Craigslist has become some sort of online Mecca for swindling criminals, and unfortunately many innocent bystanders are all too often financially deceived by these con artists on the site.

So as I've been searching for the perfect apartment or house in Charleston, I uncovered a beautiful James Island (right near the beach) house for an unbelievable price! $800 for a great home, complete with pictures and an address that I was even able to Google Map for legitness. Check it out:

Craigslist scam

Better yet, check out the scam of an email I got back:

I did get your response concerning the AD I posted on craigslist. The house is still available but presently I'm not around.. I did bid for a portion of petroleum land sometimes ago in West Africa and fortunately I won the bidding so I have to move quickly down to Africa to have my company set up because I will still have to rebid for it in the next 10 years. I came over here with my wife, we both built the house when we got married. As soon as we settle down here I had a thought of selling the house so I have to look for an agent, after getting one, we got a deal but later my wife advised against that.. She said we may not be able to win the bidding next time, in other to keep our head when we return that we have to keep the house. I reasoned with her and accepted her advise. So I contacted the agent back and requested for my keys and documents. Later we decided to have the house rent out, we would have give the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later. If you notice, you will discovered that the price we are offering is far below standard price, this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property. I know there is no way I can be sure that you are the right person to live in the house because we won't be able to see physical before sending you the keys and the documents to occupy the space. But I just had a feeling that anyone who knows what it takes to put the kind of structure down should know that maintaining a building is mandatory, so if you belief you can take good care of the house and handle it like yours then I will be more than happy to let you rent the house.

First Month Rent:$800
Refundable Security Deposit Payment:$800
Please if you are ready now to occupy the house kindly provide the information below for record purpose

Full Name__________________________________________________
Home Phone ( ) ________________________
Date of Birth_________________________________
Other Phone ( ) ___________________
Current Address_______________________________
Reasons for Leaving____________________________
Rent $__________
Phone ( ) ____________________________
Are you married____________________________
How many people will be living in the house____________________________
Do you have a pet____________________________
Do you have a car____________________________
Move In Date____________________________

You could give me a call as soon as possible so we could proceed asap..
Please note than you will only be able to drive by the house for now but not have a look at the interior until i have sent the keys and documents of the house to you..and the requirement for getting the keys and documents of the house is a fully refundable payment of $800 USD,which is the security deposit.
Please note that the deposit made is fully refundable should in case you finally gain entrance into the house after receiving the keys and documents and feel unsatisfied or uncomfortable with the interior,but i am giving you a benefit of doubt that you will love everything about this lovely home..
I Await your response so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys to you.
My cell phone number is:(+234-802-859-3562 OR 011-234-802-859-3562)
Best Regards

My Response:

Dear Taha Jamal, or whatever you chose your name to be today:
Sure, I will send you the deposit ASAP. C'mon, we both know the form isn't really necessary. I mean truth be told, you could care less if I am married, have a really cool dog, or what I paid for rent at my last place. No, these details are not significant to you... unless you are trying to also access all of my personal accounts as well. I really don't doubt that at all. Oh well. The deposit will be on your doorstep in Nigeria tomorrow, for sure.


PPS That's a real nice fake name ya got there. Taha Jamal? Taj Mahal!? Hah. I googled your phone number, and found that you like to impersonate a vast selection of people- men, women, American, Pakistani, African...etc.

PPSS That means you double suck.

I posted this in an effort to bring just a little more awareness into the Craigslist community. Not too mention I wanted to add to the google results when you type in the phone number on the email.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for saving me from being scammed. I had a feeling after I got the email back from The Eoff family that I was about to get totally ripped off but I typed the phone number into google just in case. I really appreciate you posting this. The house is now listed on craigslist in Denver, CO just in case you're wondering where your house went :) Thanks again

July 30, 2009 5:39 PM  
Blogger thewebutante said...

I'm glad to hear that the post helped you out! Hopefully posts like this will continue to increase awareness about these sorts of scammers.

July 30, 2009 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in a real estate office in Phoenix and one of my agents brought this to my attention. They posted a REAL ad for one of their rentals. A few days later, they went to find the ad and they found their ad along with a bogus one using all of the same information with the exception of the price (which was $500 LOWER) and contact information which was a yahoo e-mail address set up with the landlord's name. Which was NOT set up by the landlord. Scary stuff, but hopefully people's flags go up when they see international contact information and the horrible grammar the respondent uses.

September 21, 2009 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I got the same email for a house in Corona Ca. When I went back to type in the posting # the next day, it had already been removed. I also looked up the address and got a purchasing history for the property. Everything in the letter did not match up with the email

October 11, 2009 3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happened to me as well on a rental property in Florida. Unfortunately I stupidly fell for it in the beginning and did give him all the information he asked for (my and my fiancé's full names, our current address etc...). I was wondering, what can they do with this information? Just a name and address?

December 4, 2009 3:17 PM  
Blogger thewebutante said...

I think these scammer's main goal is to get money from you, so I'm not sure I'd be terribly concerned if you just gave your name and address... That said, I would still keep an eye on your credit report (just to be safe) using either the Experian® Equifax® or TransUnion® Credit Report services that are out there.

December 8, 2009 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Carmen said...

Thank you so much for this, I too was iffy about it and as well googled the phone number. Some people just need to get off their asses and get a real job. Thanks.

January 15, 2010 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you as well for this post, it is now march 1, 2010 and the ad is here in Tampa,FL. this could never be true because its too easy for an international to scam us here in the US without worrying about the US government being able take it to justice. Hope none or atleast very few got scammed into this bullcrap.

here is my response i got back from the Ad on craigslist.

First of all, I must thank the Lord that I found an intending tenant for my house ,The house is much available for now and its a 4 bedroom home......I want you to know that i am the owner of this building situated at 2610 Pegasus Court Brandon, FL 33511 and I Once lived there with my Wife and my only daugther before we relocated to West Africa.My Job here in Nigeria involves going to interior villages to give food and clothes to the less priviledged ones in the Niger delta region and I also use this opportunity to preach the word of God bringing them to the knowledge of the gospel of Christ,We work with the a charity organisation.

You can learn more from www.orphanage.org/africa/nigeria/childrenofmary/index.html

I came here with my family and It was due to my transfer thats we left my home and also want to give it out for rent. We are looking for a resposible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time, and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.My wife is also a pastor with christ embassy church here in Nigeria as well.We want to give it for rent and looking for a resposible person that can take very good care of my home for us. So for now,We are here in Lagos,and our house and the keys/documents of the house are with us here,we tried to look for an agent that we can give this document before we left but could not see and we are as well as dont want our house to be used any how in our absence that is why we took it along with us here.

so if you know you cannot give the house the neatness it deserves please don't contact me.But if you promise to always take good care of the house,get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting a home.Hope you are okay with the monthly price of $800 and the Security deposit payment also $800 with Air conditioning, Walk-in closet, heat laundry facilities, Living room,Breakfast nook, Refrigerator, Gas Heat /Oven, Deck, or Patio, Cable-ready, High-speed internet ,Garage parking.I hope you will promise us to take very good care of the house. If you are comfortable with the price and really need this home, Contact me immediately with the following details.

Our house number is +234-802-859-3562 OR 011-234-802-859-3562 for more details.

Thanks and you are welcome.


hope this helps as well.


March 1, 2010 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just emailed these people about a house in Madison,WI. We drove past the house location he/she gave and there are people living in the house that he/she "owns" and it has a for sale sign in the yard. We emailed him back about the for sale sign and he/she replied "there isn't any for sale sign, there shouldn't be and there is nobody living in my house" Oh really buddy? This guy needs to go to prison and burn in hell there. But we all know 9 outta 10 times he wont get caught. He really seems to know what the hell he is doing

April 1, 2010 5:49 PM</