Beware of Apartment Rental Scams on Craigslist!
I recently replied to a Craigslist apartment rental ad (you’ll notice that the posting has since been flagged for removal):
apartment includes a two car garage
Date: 2009-08-30, 6:37AM
Dreamy, charming one bedroom, one bathroom cutie in Santa monica. New everything…from paint, central air/heat, stucco, copper plumbing, sod, sprinklers and more. Hardwood floors and all appliances included (gas range, refrigerator, washer and dryer). Charmer includes a two car garage (off alley) plus a parking pad for three additional or RV vehicles. Offers a large,covered brick patio, exterior lighting, security screen doors and is conveniently close to shopping, freeway, school and park. Priced well … compare and see!
cats are OK – purrr
dogs are OK – wooof
Location: Santa Monica
it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Original URL: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/apa/1349697387.html
The Email I Received from the Apartment Rental Scammers
I received an email back from someone named Laurie Mae Adlington:
Thanks for your interest. First of all, I must thank the Lord that I found an intending tenant for my apartment ,My name is Pastor Laurie Mae Adlington, I own the apartment you are interested in and I lived there with my Husband and my only daughter before we relocated to West Africa. My Job here in Nigeria involves going to interior villages to give food and clothes to the less privileged ones in the Niger delta region and I also use this opportunity to preach the word of God bringing them to the knowledge of the gospel of Christ,We work with the a charity organization. You can learn more from:http://www.orphanage.org/africa/nigeria/childrenofmary/index.html.
I came here with my family and It was due to my transfer thats we left the apartment and also want to give it out for rent. We are looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time, and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.My Husband is also a pastor with christ embassy church here in Nigeria as well.
This 1 bedroom apartment at 1540 6th Street Santa Monica, CA 90401 which goes for $600 monthly.It has the following features: Air conditioning, Walk-in closet, Hardwood floor, Tile floor, Living room,Breakfast nook, Refrigerator, Stove/Oven,garage, Balcony, Deck, or Patio, Cable-ready, High-speed internet ,Garage parking.
This apartment is not furnished and We want to give it for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of the apt. for us.So for now,We are here in Lagos,and our house and the keys/documents of the house are with us here,we tried to look for an agent that we can give this document before we left but could not see and we are as well as don’t want our house to be used any how in our absence that is why we took it along with us here.
I hope you will promise us to take very good care of the house. If you are comfortable with the price and really need this apartment, Contact me immediately with the following details.
1)Your Full Name
2)Your Full Address
3)How old are you?
4)Are you married?
5)How many people will be living in the Apartment?
6)Do you have a pet?
7)Do you have a car?
9)What is your religion?
10)How long are you renting for?
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you,please we are giving you all this base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that,we do not see yet and only putting everything into Gods hand,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this.
You can also call my Husband asap:+234 803 646 4993 or 011234 803 646 4993 for more details
The pictures are attached and you can also go see the building, though you cant view the inside because we have the keys here.
Thanks and you are welcome
Mrs Laurie Mae Adlington
Quick Details of the Craigslist Apartment Rental Scam I Encountered
After I read the pleasant email (which contained small images of the apartment also), I called James Adlington, the husband of Laurie Mae Adlington, in Nigeria to make sure all was legitimate because he was asking $600 per month for an apartment located only 6 blocks from the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. It was obviously worth considerably more on the open market. We spoke for a good while. He seemed rather nice, said all that he wanted was for someone to take care of his apartment while he and his wife completed their missionary tour which would end in 2012. He mentioned that he would come to the US next May and visit me in the apartment just to make sure I was maintaining it well. I told him the apartment looked great from the images but that I would like to see it in person. He said he couldn’t show it to me because they had the keys with them in Nigeria. He gave a reason but I’ve forgotten it. I told him I would go down to Santa Monica to look around and get back to him. So, I arrivesd at 1540 6th Street in Santa Monica, a beautiful building caled the Livorno. I asked a leasing agent for a tour of one of their empty apartments so I could get a feel for the construction, amenities, etc. I didn’t mention anything about the Adlingtons or their apartment because I told James that I was only going down to look at the building. The leasing agent was quite pleasant and informative. The one bedroom she showed me was renting for $2,200 per month. I wonderied how the Adlington’s could be asking $600 per month if they could obviously get alot more? James also mentioned onthe phone that his apartment had 2 bedrooms.
I drove back from Santa Monica and called James again in Nigeria. He unwavingly answered the questions I had and asked me if I could send the money immediately – the same day – because he had many people lining up to rent this apartment, wanted to take it off the market and wanted the peace of mind of not having to entertain so many emails for the remainder of the month. He would, in return, mail me the keys, leasing agreement and parking garage remote in the mail via FedEx the next day. I asked him if he had the legal right to sub-lease the apartment. He said yes. Still, I was skeptical. I asked if he would email me a copy of his lease. He said he couldn’t since he didn’t have a scanner or copy machine. I mentioned to him that I could use online banking to get the money to him. He preferred Western Union.
After I ended the phone conversation with him, I Googled James Adlington and Laurie Mae Adlington. I didn’t find anything. I then called back to the Livorno to find out if they were on record as tenants. I recounted the story to a fine and helpful gentleman who first informed me that tenants are not allowed to sub-lease their apartments and that if I did sub-lease the apartment I would not be able to have it maintained. He went on to say that there are many apartment rental scams on Craigslist originating in Nigeria. I hadn’t mentioned to him that I found tis apartment rental on Craigslist. The agent said that once the scammers receive the $600 they DO send keys via FedEx. However, the keys are fake. They do not unlock anything. Since I sounded like a legitimate person, he went further and asked for their names. After a quick search, he found no tenants named Adlington, James or Laurie Mae.
Meanwhile, I gave James my cellphone number and he continues to call. I also received an email from him, not Laurie Mae (not a surprise!), asking when I wold be sending the $600.