Thursday, December 18, 2008

Update on Scam Alert: Renter's Beware!

Just wanted to quickly fill you in on everything that has happened since I last posted about the renter's scam alert. My husband decided to respond to the Craig's List ad pretending to be interested in renting the home (our listing). He was e-mailed a response along with a renter's application that he was supposed to fill out and return. Well, being the computer genius that my hubby is, he built a computer program where when the spammer clicked on a link it would log his computer's IP address and we could use that to determine where this crook is located.

Matt (the hubby) replied to the scammer and told him his application was attached in the link. Of course, the greedy, up-to-no-good person clicked on the link--the computer captured their IP address and my husband had what he needed. We found out that the person is in Africa, Nigeria to be exact; which makes us feel a little better that they are so far away.

The best part was after the scammer clicked on the link, the following message was sent to them:

"This is your IP address: _______________. We know you have been trying to scam our listing at: ___________. We have logged your IP address and determining your location as we speak. The authorities have been notified and will be looking for you. MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

I thought this was too funny and hopefully scared them into not doing this anymore. We were able to get Craig's List to remove their first ad, but it didn't stop them from posting a second ad; we've had Craig's List remove that ad too. Matt used the IP address to find out who their Internet service provider is and he's going to inform them of what this person is up to.

Unfortunately, we received a call from a woman interested in renting the property; she made the mistake of e-mailing the scammer and sending him the filled out rent application. Thankfully she had not yet sent him money, but she had been asked to send money through Western Union. Before she sent the money, she drove to the property, saw our sign and called us up. I feel so bad for her, because although the scammer did not ask for her social security number, they did ask for a great deal of information. Matt told her to watch her credit reports carefully to make sure no new credit cards were opened in her name and things like that. I really hope nothing bad happens to this lady because of this.

So, please please be careful out there. People are getting desperate to make money and will try to pull just about anything. Be very wary of who you give your personal information to. And be extremely careful when sending money; especially through Western Union which is what most scammers use.

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