We have our old house listed for sale in town. In the last couple of days we received four phone calls from “renters” asking about our house for rent advertised on CraigsList. Our house isn't for rent. One of the callers thought there was something suspicious about the ad after e-mailing the "agent" listed in the ad and receiving a reply from Nigeria!
We subsequently found that apparently two fake ads had been placed on CraigsList which were later flagged and deleted before we could view them. But shortly a third ad was posted – there it was, complete with pictures of our lovely home advertised for rent for $700 deposit. The only contact provided was the “spoofed” e-mail address of the listing Realtor.
I decided to pose as a prospective renter for my own house under the adopted name of Jay Edgar Hoover. I have copied my e-mail exchange with Nigerian scammer into an Adobe Acrobat document which you can read in it's entirety here. (My side of the correspondence is colored blue.)
After my "application was accepted", the guy in Nigeria actually called my cell phone asking for "Jay"... not thinking, I told them they had the wrong number. Damn, stupid mistake! But eventually they called back. I told them I didn't know how to wire money to Nigeria - In actuality I was stalling them; I wanted to have my tape recorder by the phone to record the conversation. I heard lots of voices in the background, it sounded like a classic "boiler room" operation.
Alas the scammers apparently caught on that THEY were instead being scammed; no further e-mails nor phone calls were received.
As it turns out, one of the couples who called us from the fake ad about renting our place turned out to be genuinely interested. If our house doesn't sell by the end of the month, my Nigerian Landlord may have done me a nice service by referring us to some potentially suitable renters!! (I wonder if I should tell him the place rents for $1,100/month instead of the $700 he was asking for?) ~ Nahhhh!
I'm on -the-road this weekend. Hope to catch up to your blogs and comments on my return Monday. - R