Responded to a posting on craigslist - Minneapolis/St. Paul and received this email back. The email returned was from a different email address:
Thanks for taking the time to look at my property.My name is Amanda Amber,I'm 39 years old,I'm the owner of this condo(2 bedrooms,2 bathrooms,1,140 square footage).It's located in 436 Portland Ave, St Paul, MN 55102.The unit is equipped with recessed lighting, central air and heat, the condo come with two parking spots,a storage unit where you can deposit my furniture (if you don't like it and you want use your furniture),there is also a linen closet, and most importantly, a new front loading stacked washer and drier.Pets allowed.I've moved to United Kingdom with my job and decided to rent it because the rent is very expensive here.The price is so low because I'm here and is very hard to find a tenant.I can rent you the condo for min. 1 month and max. 6 years(or more).I really want to find a good and responsible tenant for it, and I hope that you can send me some personal information about yourself.The rent for whole the condo for 1 month is $700.00 including all utilities(water,electricity, internet, cable, parking , airconditioning, fireplace, dishwasher, garbage) and the security deposit is $700.00 (you'll get the deposit back at your departure-or you can use it to pay your last month of rent) and I want to receive the money monthly in my bank account. You can move in the condo in the same day when you receive the keys. The only problem is that I`m the only person who has the keys and I have nobody in United States that could show you the condo. In order to check it, see if you like it(I'm sure that you'll love it), you need to receive the keys and the contract.
If you want to rent the condo, please e-mail me back and I will explain you how the payment and shipping will take place!
Here are a few pictures:
Have a nice day
I responded saying I was interested and the reply email back:
Thank you for your reply.
Before going further with anything I must tell you that for payments I will use the eBay Company, they will secure the transaction of payments. I will open a CASE ID# at eBay Company for this transaction and I will give them your full name, shipping info, phone# and indicate you as my tenant. After that, they will contact you with the payment details, and they will ask you to send them a refundable deposit, $1,400.00 in 24 hours(the money will be for the first month of rent + the security deposit). After they receive your deposit, they will notify me immediately to start the shipping of the keys and the contract. You will receive a tracking number in max 24 hours after they receive your deposit. The keys will reach to you in 3-4 days. After you'll receive the keys and the contract, the 14 days of inspection period will start( you'll have 14 days to see the condo, read the contract, decide if you keep the condo or not).After the inspection you will contact them and tell your decision: TAKE THE CONDO or NOT TAKE THE CONDO! In case you'll take it you'll have to send them a copy of the contract signed by you and they will release the money to me, if not you'll have to send them the contract unsigned and they will refund your money($1,400.00), the contract and the keys will be shipped back at my expenses! I will pay the shipping and you'll have to pay the money transfer fee for the refundable deposit.
1. If you have the money $1,400.00 and if you want to rent it send me your full name, your shipping address and your phone#
2. I will open a CASE ID# at eBay Company for this transaction , and I will give them your info, and indicate you as my tenant.
3. After that, they will contact you with the payment details(you'll have to send them $1,400.00 via money transfer in the next 24 hours-you'll need cash)
4. After they receive your deposit, they will notify me immediately to start the shipping, and you will receive a tracking number in max 24 hours after they receive your deposit.
5.From the moment you receive the keys the 14 days inspection period will start.I will make the transaction only in this way so if you have the money and if you want to rent my condo send me your full name, your shipping address, your phone# and I'll start the procedure.
We asked many questions in regards to the place and area. We even went and took a look at the property ("Amanda" had not listed an apartment #).
The process was started and we continued to do our own investigation as there were aspects that were concerning and questionable. An eBay Company account was set up and "Amanda" was very eager to get our "Western" (Western Union) cash transfer immediately. Here is another email:
"We can make the contract now,but you'll need the money now,for the security deposit + the first month of rent(the lease start from the day you move,and you'll receive the deposit back at your departure)."
and another email when I continued to ask more questions about the process
"Ok... please send the payment monday... cause eBay will charge me with a late payment fee of 38 pounds per day.
We found the "Ripoff Report" with the same exact emails as other's had listed and I emailed stating that we would not be able to follow through with the transation and "Amanda" continued to try and get money from us. Last email received (this email address has most likely changed now):
"I paid 439 pounds for this transaction!!! How can you say something like that???"
I've also made a police/fraud report to the City of St. Paul, MN
Thank goodness for this site, so we did not loose $1,400!!!