So we find ourselves moving, again <sigh and yet at the same time yeah!>. And again I will be the first person on site. My husband who is a wonderful man was afforded the opportunity to go ahead and I stay behind this time and close up everything, but he responded that he would most likely be too busy sight seeing and not doing what needed to be done on that end. At least he’s honest. He’s also worried that I am taking on all of the heavy stuff (snicker) because it will be up to me to find a place to live, do some research on businesses we might want to open (we’ve decided to go into business for ourselves-another yeah! and at the same time eek!) and to look for a job.
I on the other hand think he is getting the worst part of the deal as he will have to store all of our stuff, clean the house and then he will have to travel 2300 miles with a moody teenage girl and two dogs in a cramped jeep. I get to take our travel happy kitty with me ;),
So the point of this post is that we are moving yet again and to hopefully warn people of some of the pitfalls of searching out a place to live using Craigslist or some other open forum advertising housing. I was searching for a place to rent and came across two very nice places to rent within our price range.
I contacted the posting parties and got only one answer. They were happy to rent to us and even ok with 3 pets. They wanted us to submit to a background check (nothing unusual) and our phone numbers to contact them-again not unusual.
Here is what is unusual: They didn’t give me their number, I had to go to a website and pay for my own background check and very subtly they pushed with the words the property rents quickly, but it wasn’t overt. In fact I didn’t notice it until after I had gone back to it after finding out what I did.
They wanted to use a site called rental verified. And at first glance it looks to be on the up and up, it even had the HTTPS, which for those of your who don’t know means (generally) that the website is secure and trusted. The one time fee cost 39.99 and the monthly is cheaper. I’ll let you think on that one for a moment, then go to a search engine and search for background checks and rental history websites-They are cheaper and usually the LANDLORD is the one doing the checking not you!
Still, even though everything looked on the up and up I was hesitating and I couldn’t figure out why. So I did some checking and in a nutshell-the website and the posting are a scam. The site that comes up is different then the one you search for from a search engine, though some of it looks the same. On further research, I found forums that flagged it as a scam and almost had word for word the response I got in my e-mail, which you can read below.
One rule of thumb to consider. If it sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. Secondly, I responded to the person requesting a number and a time to meet and if they can’t meet or don’t want to give up their number let it go. And third and I can’t stress this enough, if you get a second e-mail and the senders name is different ie First e-mail was from firstname.lastname@example.org and the second one was from email@example.com with a link to view the property virtually DON’T CLICK ON THE LINK TO SEE THE VIDEO! In fact, in the first e-mail, DON’T CLICK ON THE LINK TO GO TO A WEBSITE! It can contain a virus, phishing malware or any number of things that can create problems for you later.
So below is both the advertisement and copy of the e-mail sent to me. Hope it saves other people time and loss of money.
$550 / 2br – 1100ft² – Cozy wood burning fire place! Ready for move in!
– Expansive floor plan
– Park-like setting with large beautiful windows and a personal balcony or patio
– Walk in closets
– Energy star dish washer
– Gas log fire place
– Electric range and oven
– All new windows and blinds
– Garbage disposal in sink
Beautiful kitchen, close to walking/biking paths, public transportation, and employers, 2 bedroom 1.5 bathroom. This welcoming rental is ready for lease.
Reply to be contacted.