Thursday, June 14, 2007

Apartment Hunting, Continued

Here's a little background.

The roommate and I have been trawling Craigslist's "no fee" apartment section, and came across an add that looked good. Actually it looked too good to be true. $1100/month for a two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side with "marble bath." I figured why not, so I emailed the guy.

He responded saying that he is in London, and he needs $1100 (security deposit) to come back and show the apartment. Needless to say, the roommate and I were a little sketched out. I have tried to say that I'd love to see the place, but I can't wire money to London in good conscience without having "met a real human being, or seeing the apartment." In response I've had several strange emails from the guy.

The latest (my comments in italic):

Hello again,
This is 100% legit and true, there is no way for scam or something like that for God sake really? no way?, I do understand your concerns, and it's normal but it's notmy case. Imagine, only my flight back will cost me arround 900 usd, and I'm paying that from my own pocket. And that's why I need something on my hand... If you don't like it, then I will refund your money. But there is no way for you not to like this apt.

I don't need that money for my flight, I need them as a security deposit. I'm working here and I have to talk with my job manager to have a free time...I'm not dooing that without nothing on my hand...

UK Phone Number: [redacted] - anytime Thank you...[redacted]

My Concerns:
1) I checked Orbitz, and if you flew tomorrow, you could get a flight (round-trip) for as cheap as $660.
2) Wiring money to a foreign country is sketchy. Always.
3) Whenever someone has to tell you that something is "legit" it probably isn't. I firmly believe that if someone has to tell you some characteristic about themselves, they probably don't have it (ie, "I'm very funny").

The roommate suggested that we ask him to FedEx the keys to someone so that they can show us the apartment. I'm just about ready to write this off as a strange, if uniquely New York, experience.


Gigi said...

Darlin', it's 100% a scam.

michael said...

You know the Brooklyn Bridge? Nice, yes? Fifty dollars, special, for you. Okay, for forty-five and a smile.

Also, while you're here, a billionaire Texas oilman died in a plane crash and left behind $40 million in an escrow account and if you would please very kindly send $1000 to my bank in Lagos I would be very happy to split with you these monies.

Have you read Dianetics?

orieyenta said...

I have a rental property available here in Miami. I say you use the $1,100 to come down here and share Shabbat with us. (Oh, and I'll show you the apartment too.)

Annie said...

Gigi, Michael- yes, I kind of figured that. But now I'm trying to mess with the guy, see how far he'll go. Like that guy who made the Nigerian scammers stand out in the rain for 2 hours. Except I am significantly less sneaky.

Orie- I was actually supposed to go to Miami for a weekend in mid-August, but now that I'm changing jobs I won't be able to make it.

Gigi said...

Annie, I jumped on that one because my roommate got significantly scammed ($2,000) a few years ago by a guy in the UK who also "needed a money order." I wish the roommate would have consulted me before doing it. Now, I like to warn people if I hear them mention similar scenarios.

Annie said...

Gigi- I definitely appreciate it. I feel bad for people who are so desperate for an apartment that they'll believe this type of thing.

montana urban legend said...

He has an extra $1100 on hand each month for an apartment he doesn't use, but not $900 for the bloated price of a plane ticket to pay for coming to show it.

Ya, right.