Victim Location 91344
Total money lost $500
Type of a scam Moving
Scammer posted an notice on Westside Rentals website (https://www.westsiderentals.com/), seeking a renter for a one bedroom apartment in Beverly Hills. Pictures of the residence were posted along with the following details from scammer’s initial email to me, which was sent on February 22, 2017:
Sorry for the delayed response . Thank you for taking the time to look at my apartment. My name is Matthew.
I am looking for a responsible person that can take a very good care of my apartment. I want to be clean all the time and the possible tenant will see the apartment as his or her own and I hope that you can send me some personal information about yourself. The apartment is fully furnished with all necessary amenities (exactly like in the pics). It has dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer. There are two parking spots, a storage unit where you can deposit my furniture (if you don’t like it and you want to use your furniture). Behaved pets allowed. The monthly rent for the apartment is 1000 USD – utilites included (water, sewer, electricity, heat). I am looking for someone to rent anywhere from 1 month to 5 years or more. I will never live there or even visit the place because most of the time I’m offshore, I inspect oil rigs for a living.
The property is being managed by Airbnb and they will handle the whole rental process.
If you want to know more about the rental process please get back to me and I will send you the step by step procedure.
Find attached more photos and let me know if you like the apartment.
Ing. Matthew Clark
After responding to the initial email on February 23, 2017, scammer sent the following response the same day:
As I already told you in my first email Airbnb will handle the renting process in my behalf due to my offshore job. I will have to contact the agency and provide them all the necessary information so they can start the rental process. For that I will need your full name, rental period with exact move-in date, if other persons will be living with you, your email , phone number and a copy if your ID or Passport if possible.
To secure the apartment you will be instructed to pay the security deposit of $500 to the agency to confirm reservation ( which is fully refundable in case you don’t like the apartment ). Only once the deposit is paid an agent will be assigned to handle the visit and inspection. (Aibnb has to manage more than 1,500,000 locations, they would need an impossible number of agents to present every location without a deposit confirmation. )
The keys and rental agreement will be delivered by their agent at your current address same day the deposit is paid, or you can meet with the agent at the apartment when you arrive. Rental agreement will also be signed in his presence and he will handle the refund process as well. If you are satisfied with the apartment all you have to do is to sign the lease agreement and inform the agency. If you don’t sign the tenancy agreement you receive a full refund of the deposit payment within the same day you made your decision. After you move in the apartment, the monthly payment will be sent directly to my bank account.
If that is acceptable please provide the requested details and I will submit your application right away. I will send the airbnb reservation offer to your email and you can take it from there.
Please reply only if you fully understand the process as I have been disappointed lately with unserious persons when it comes to reserving.. You will find attached a photo of my passport for more transparency.
Ing. Matthew Clark
After providing the required information on February 24, 2017, scammer sent the following two response on the same day:
First response: Thank you for the details. I’m glad to have you as tenant. I will now forward your details to Airbnb and you will receive the rental offer.
Second response (sent that same day): Hello, I just sent the airbnb offer and you are now welcome to reserve the apartment. Did you receive it ? If you have any problems or If you would like any additional information, please don’t hesitate to ask or just let me know after you complete the reservation process.
Upon expressing my interest to Airbnb in the apartment, scammer sent the following response to me on February 25, 2017:
Just saw that you already reserved the apartment on Airbnb. Congratulations and thanks for the promptness with which you treated this transaction! Please keep me posted about the deposit and preferred visit date.
I received the following message from Airbnb after selecting to pay the deposit under the terms specified by scammer:
In order to complete the reservation and verify your information correctly please send the following details:
Images of the full front and back of your gift cards.
A sales receipt showing when your cards were purchased.
The iTunes code from your gift cards.
After we receive the requested pictures, your payment will be processed in maximum 12 hours.
In some special cases, we may contact you during this process to request additional information regarding the payment.
As soon as the payment is approved, you will receive an email representing the payment receipt and the inspection/ renting process will be initiated.
Please reply to this email further assistance.
I paid the deposit and got the following response from scammer after confirming my payment on February 25, 2017:
Just received a notification from Airbnb that your payment is currently processed and I should receive final confirmation in maximum 12 hours. Do you have a preferred time&date for the visit ?
After submitting my preferred time and date to personally check out the apartment (February 25, 2017), I received the following response from scanner on February 26, 2017, which was his final email to me:
OK, I will confirm that to Airbnb.
After a couple of days went by without another response to confirm if the date and time I submitted was confirmed for me to personally check out the apartment, I sent a message on February 28, 2017 to check on the status of my preferred date and time. This is the message I received that same day:
Address not found
Your message wasn’t delivered to [email protected] because the address couldn’t be found. Check for typos or unnecessary spaces and try again.
The response from the remote server was:
550 no mailbox by that name is currently available
Final-Recipient: rfc822; [email protected]
Remote-MTA: dns; mx1.privateemail.com. (18.104.22.168, the server for the
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 no mailbox by that name is currently available
Last-Attempt-Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:21:19 -0800 (PST)