Well, it’s that time again. Time to scout around and find another La’casa to hang my sombrero. Our term here is almost over and the owner wants to move back to Berlin from abroad. So, it’s time to search the internet and local papers. One of my favorite places to look is on Craigslist. That’s how I found this place and most people that use it here, speak English which is a big benefit. The weekends are the best times to look for the latest ad’s that have been placed. Knowing that, I started searching Craigslist on Thursday night. We want to stay in the same area, so filtering the list was pretty easy and quick. I found roughly 9 apartments in the area and wrote to them all requesting further information.
Some had photo’s, others didn’t. I didn’t matter because it would all get weeded out anyhow. What I didn’t expect was finding some very attractive apartments for what seemed below the market asking price. But as I said, I wrote to them all and will weed out the ones that don’t match our description.
Well, today’s Sunday night and I had 6 replies from the 9 I wrote to. 4 of those 6 replies came very quickly. Almost to eagerly. I went back to review the apartment those 4 replies came from and they all came from the under valued apartments. They also had one thing in common, they all asked for my personal email address. Now I like playing games as much as the next fellow so I engaged in what I kind of knew was coming. The “I’m not in town, but send me money anyhow” scam.
This was going on years back when I was looking for this place. I would have thought that enough people and Craigslist themselves would have put a stop to this scam. But it lives on. And I’m going to share one of those scamming little twits with you. He goes by the name Michael Wiess from his emails. He was one of the owners that didn’t have a picture of his apartment on Criagslist. After I sent him email address he sent this reply for his bait.
Thank you for the most eloquent response to my listing, I’m the owner of the apartment you are making inquiry of. Actually i resided in the apartment with my family, before, and presently we had packed due to my transfer from my church where i work for and now situated in (Ukraine) and presently my apartment is still available for rent and I’m not willing to sale my apartment anymore. It include the Utilities such as Dishwasher,Fridge , Stove ,Assigned / Secured parking ,Fitness facilities ,microwave , Washer , Dryer , Cable /Satellite ,Internet connectivity ,Storage locker,Fireplace,Packing, I have my furniture in the apartment if you which to move in with your furnished items, no problem.you can put my own furniture in the store, Please i want you to note that I’m a kind and honest man and also i spent a lot on my property that i want to give you for rent, i will want you to take absolute care of my apartment and I want you to treat it as your own, money is not the most important thing but i want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for a check up.I look forward to hearing from you asap so i have included an Application Form to fill out below,fill it out and send it back to me and discuss on how to get the apartment for rent,…Looking forward to hear from you soon.so if you are Ok with this please return the application form in your next e-mail. Like i said earlier we are not just after the rent money,but you have to promise to keep the apartment tidy always.
Rental :EUR500 Utilities Included
Damages and Security Deposit :- EUR400(Refundable once your leaving the apartment)
Heating features: Central, Electric Source
Status: Active & Available Now
Lease terms: Short & Long term
RENTAL APPLICATION FORM
( Private and Confidential )
1)Your Full Name_________________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone ________________________ _______
3)How old are you___________________________ __
4)Are you married _ _____________________________ _____
5)Occupation __ _________________________
6)Current rent payment ____ __________________________ ___________
7)Reason for moving out?_______ _________
8)How many people will be living in the apartment ____________ _________________
10)How long are you willing to stay _______ ____________________-
11)When do you intend to move in ___
12)Do you have a pet ______________________________ _______
13)Do you smoke
14)Pictures of the Occupant that will stay in our apartment ?
Awaiting your reply soon. May you and your family continue to be blessed
Here is my reply to Michael:
Thank you for replying Michael.
Before I fill out personal information I’ll need to see the apartment first. During the visit, if I like the apartment, I’ll be glad to give you the application completely filled out with the deposit if you need it than.
So let me know when I can view the apartment. The sooner we do, the sooner you’ll be able to rent it out.
Michael must have gotten all excited that a fish was swimming around his bait. Now he needed to hook it. Oh, how should he do it….send some outstanding photo’s of the apartment. A picture is worth a 1,000 words and Michael sent 9,000 words, or 9 pictures whichever way you want to look at it.
Here’s his reply email and some very nice pictures.
I have attach the interior pictures of the apartment, kindly fill out the Rentals Application Form so that we can proceed further.
I couldn’t believe it! I was going to have beach front property in Berlin! Look at that view. Isn’t that worth 500 EUR per month? Boy, I better jump on this deal before someone else beats me to it.
I filled out that apartment application quicker than any survey you might have ever done in front of a supermarket.
Here’s my application all filled out:
1)Your Full Name___Steve Joss______________________ ____________
2)Present Address(where you reside now) & Phone __Prenzalle 23 Berlin 10405______________________ _______
3)How old are you____42_______________________ __
4)Are you married _ ___Yes__________________________ _____
5)Occupation __ ___Almost Retired______________________
6)Current rent payment ____ _1250 _________________________ ___________
7)Reason for moving out?__Escaping fugitive_____ _________
8)How many people will be living in the apartment ____6 or 7________ _________________
9)Sex:___all the time_____________________ ______
10)How long are you willing to stay ____3 months to 2 years___ ____________________-
11)When do you intend to move in __next week_
12)Do you have a pet __many____________________________ _______
13)Do you smoke yes
14)Pictures of the Occupant that will stay in our apartment ? Camera Shy, sorry
I rushed it back to Michael as quickly as I could hoping I wasn’t to late.
Michael responded within a few hours with some very good news.
Hello Steve Joss,
we have decided to let you live in our apartment,as we have found your application very wonderful,satisfactory and acceptable by my family so we want you to go through the acceptance form and get back to us on how you feel.we would like to send the following documents to you through DHL to the address you sent to us and the tracking number will be sent to you also so that you can occupy the apartment.please again we are giving you this based on the trust we have for you please stick to the promise that you are going to take good care of our apartment and you are not going to disappoint us,and i promise you that you will love the apartment.so we are here with the below documents,you will need to make the security deposit payment so that we can ship the keys and the documents to your address with the address you provided earlier.
RE-CONFIRMATION OF THE DELIVERY ADDRESS TO AVOID IT GETTING TO THE WRONG HANDS.
We would like to send the following documents to you via DHL next day delivery to the address you sent to us Please reconfirm the address,and the tracking number will be sent to you so that you can possibly occupy our apartment. Please once again, we are giving you this based on trust so please do not disappoint us and i promise you that, you will love the apartment. We are with the under listed documents here with us and you will need to make Payment for the security deposit (EUR400) to enable shipment of the Keys and documents delivered to the address you have provided to us, after which you could move in at your convenience.. The rent starts counting when you move in, so you could go ahead with the payment straight away to make things faster…
Here are the contents of the document that needs to be sent.
1) Entrance and the rooms Keys
2) Paper/Permanent apartment form
3) The apartment documentary file.
4) Full Description of the apartment
5) Payment Receipt
6)Lease Agreement Form.
The apartment is available for rent for up 5 years,so you are free to decide on how long you intend occupying it…Rent already includes utilities..I’m ready to accept either monthly or upfront mode of payment..depending on the one you’re most comfortable with..utilities included, Water,electricity, Gas Sewer, Garbage, Cable ready,well trained pet is allowed e.t.c Facilities also include: Dishwasher, Dryer, Electric Stove, Fridge, Washer …Your monthly rent already covers utilities so you do not have to pay extra charges for that.
NOTE THAT THE SECURITY DEPOSIT IS REFUNDABLE IN-CASE YOU DON’T LIKE THE apartment.
Please note that the deposit made is fully refundable should in case you finally gain entrance into the apartment 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 and beautiful apartment and is ready for move in. The deposit will be refunded in less than 24 hours after you request for it..You are advised to act fast on this so you don’t loose the apartment to other interested applicants….
This was fantastic news! I grabbed my wife by her hand and started dancing all around our apartment with joy. I told her we were going to be the only people in Berlin that had beach front and ocean view in our brand new apartment. And it only took one day of house hunting. Whoo-Hoo!
This is great NEWS! Too good to be true…..thank you so much Michael. I can’t wait to see the apartment and move in.
Here is my information you requested Michael.
FIRST NAME: Steve Joss
apartment ADDRESS: Prenzalle 23 Berlin 10405
MOBILE NUMBER: +49 01577897XXX
Thank you again Michael
This was his last email Saturday night.
Hello Steve Joss ,
I want you to know you are such a nice person that we need to rent our apartment for So i Want you to know that i am very happy & excited to read from you that you are ready to take very good care of our apartment,so the payment will be make via western union local store nearest to you. Below is my information where to send the money to.
Receiver’s Name : Michael J Weiss
Address : 12 Romen Rollan Str.
Zip code : 61045
Country : Ukraine
Once you sent the payment to the above information,get back to me with the below details.
SENDER’S LAST NAME :
SENDER’S FIRST NAME :
SENDER’S FULL ADDRESS :
10 DIGIT MONEY TRANSFER CONTROL NUMBER :
AMOUNT SENT :
As soon as he confirm the payment, you will be getting the necessary Documents and keys of the apartment through DHL courier Courier Service at your address immediately and get back to you with the full tracking details and information which you are going to use prior receiving the keys from the Agent when he gets to your address.
Hope to read from you soonest
So it’s Sunday night and I’m waiting for Western Union to open tomorrow morning first thing so I can send Michael the 400EUR’s he’s expecting from me. How long do you think he’ll wait? And does anyone want to sub-lease this beautiful apartment I’m ensured to obtain? I’ll sub-lease it for 300EUR’s and only ask you for a 100EUR deposit.
Got a scam you might know of ? Seen someone try to scam others ? Write to me. I’ll make it public knowledge for all to know and see.