Victim Location 27605
Type of a scam Rental
My husband and I been looking for a rental or buying, and a house we were interested in came up on a rental site, I don’t remember which one at this moment, but I know it redirected me to Zillow.com. I replied through the initial website to see if they’d accept my dogs and maybe have an option to buy after a year. Somebody contacted me back, claiming to be Wenli Zhang, the owner of the house. She said she was willing to rent the property to us, that we could eventfully transition to buying it, and the she was ok with us moving in with our four dogs. She told me the rent and deposit prices. The deposit price was normal, but the rent was super cheap. (First red flag.) We emailed awhile. The alleged owner said she couldn’t show us the house in person because she had left town, (second red flag) being currently in San Bernardino CA for a job. Nor did she have a realtor to show us the house, because allegedly she’d had some problems with him. (third red flag.) She couldn’t even have a local friend show us the property, but she said feel free to drive by and check out the outside of the house in the meantime. (fourth red flag.) The house had a realtor’s lockbox on it, but the alleged Wenli Zhang failed to provide the password so we could at least see the house for ourselves (fifth red flag.) Eventually she e-mailed me an information sheet to fill out, which was very sketchy, and later she also e-mailed me a “lease’ that didn’t even contain the basic information to identify the property owner (sixth red flag.) The sloppy lease required that we pay at least 50% of the deposit and rent in order to have the keys mailed to us with FedEx (seventh red flag.) At this point we were already 100% certain this was a scam, given the fact that there was no way for us to verify the identity of this person who claimed to be Wenli Zhang, and yet they expected us to wire money (Money Gram) to Wenli’s “personal assistant,” to San Bernardino CA, 2,000 miles away from were we live. And we hadn’t even had the chance to be able to look at the inside of the property! We came up with the name Robert White and his location because we pretended that we were going to wire them the money they were asking for. Wenli Zhang seems to be the legit owner of this property (we looked it up at the Wake Co. Register of Deeds, in Raleigh, NC, where we reside, but we have reasons to believe that the scammer copied a real ad and made up a fake email ([email protected]) pretending to be Wenli Zhang, and get away with the hoax. Of course we never wired the money, but I kept getting several texts from “Wenli,” asking me when I was planning to wire it. I stopped replying. I did, however, attempt to call her many times (we hadn’t even spoken over the phone, not even once) but they never picked up the phone. Eventually my husband called the phone number I had been texting with (317)-207-6039 —an area code who appears to be from IN— pretending to be a different person interested in renting the house. He left a message, and the following day he received a call back from a local (NC) number: 919-791-5582. It was a male voice with a Nigerian accent, my husband made sure to let this individual know that he was fully aware of the scam, and that we would be reporting it to the pertinent authorities. They cussed and hung up. After that incident, my husband is getting continuous harassing phone calls, from unknown people. The scammer’s purpose was obviously to bother us because we got them busted. We don’t know to what extent the information we have collected about these lowlifes will lead to their detention, but we felt we had to report this scam in hopes that these individuals get caught and stop hoaxing innocent people which in good faith are willing to pay their hard-earn money to rent a house. We have their numbers, their fake email address, the name of the person who was going to cash the Money Gram, his alleged location, the fake rental questionnaire, the fake lease, and all the other email communications. We sure appreciate your looking into this case. Thank you very much.