Nigerian scams in the local real estate rental market

While foreclosures abound, so do opportunities for real estate fraud. The following recent example shows how real estate fraud at the local level can go global.

At the request of a client who smelled a rat, a private investigator friend of mine investigated a rental house listing on Craigslist. It sounded like a nice house in a gated community at a very affordable price. The client had responded to the Craigslist ad and got this response from the alleged owner of the house:

Dear _____,

The house is still available and it is fully furnished. The monthly rent is $1300 utilities included, The rent includes all utilities such as : – all furnishings – linens- tableware-  cooking utensils- water- heat-internet- basic cable TV etc Options and extras:- off-street  parking/ garage (2 cars) electricity- phone- digital or HD TV. Presently am out of the country to cover some story of African History in West Africa countries like: Sudan, Ghana and Nigeria, and others but presently in Nigeria. I’m a TV News  correspondent. This is a very big task but I have to do it, all the documents to the property and keys are in safe hand here with me. we are looking for a responsible person that can take a very good care of it for us, as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the possible tenant will see the house as his or her own.

Below is the house address. Ready for immediate move-in! You can drive down there to take a look at it…i will be willing to rent my house out for the maximum of 5 years and below. I personally had wanted to sell the house earlier on. But after long time deliberation and thinking, I finally decided on renting out the house, because it was initially to be sold. But I really want you to take good care of the house as if it were your own home.

I will be online through out to get back to you as soon as you are able to get back to me. I would want to know how soon you would want to move in.

Because due to my present location. Is not possible for you to view the interior of the place when i have the keys and the document with me here in Africa..I am looking forward to hear from you ASAP so i will like you to go ahead and fill out the rent application form so that will can proceed further and discuss on how to get the keys and papers sent to you via Dhl or ups e.t.c, also are you ready to rent it now or when?

So here is the Rent Application Form Below..Here is the application to fill out for your grant.
(He had a long list of questions)

Pets allowed.

I will use the information above to prepare the rental agreement ,rent receipts and other documents. Make sure the correct information is type. Do reply with your both cell & home number I am going to call you if your application form has been accepted or call me after filling the rental application form. A package containing the house documents, property address with full description. Including the direction to the place and keys will be ship to you once you both agreed with the term and condition. Call me once you fill out the application form. Here is my contact number:  +2348191616964 or 0112348191616964 ….i will be expecting your call to know how serious you are in renting my house.

Thanks & God Bless
Donald Scott d.sctt01@gmail.com

One word…NIGERA!

It was pretty easy from the content of the email for my friend to know this was a scam, but he wanted to know more. First he ran the IP address the email was sent from; it came from an address in Nigeria that has been associated with fraud.

Then he ran the rental address and came up with the property company that was actually representing the house.

From what he could tell, the Nigerian perpetrator surfs online rental listings, gathering enough details to produce his own ads on Craigslist.

One word, one more time…

Wait for it…

NIGERIA.

Just about everybody has heard about scams from Nigeria; yet there will be those who will FedEx an envelope full of cash to Africa in anticipation of receiving the keys so they can move in. If people were not doing this, overseas scammers would not be running their scams anymore.

Tips:

1) Before paying a landlord or agent any money for a house or condo rental, run the address with the county assessors office to confirm ownership and whether or not the house is in foreclosure.
2) Always meet the owner or agent face to face. Just as they have a right to confirm your identity, you have the same right. Know to whom you are giving your money.
3) Never use cash. Personal checks are best. If certified funds are required, get a certified check from a bank and not a money order from a store or check cashing house. If there is an issue of fraud on the part of the property owner after the move in, a local bank will take action much quicker.
4) Use your head. If the rental amount is much lower then you might expect and if the terms are too easy, you could be at risk and should use caution.

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One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ezSurf Promo Center, HSI Investigations. HSI Investigations said: Nigerian Real Estate scams in the USA https://hsipi.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/nigerian-scams-in-the-local-real-estate-rental-market/ […]

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