Beware of Craigslist Jerusalem West Africa Scam
My blood is boiling right now. And not because it’s a hot Israeli summer day without air conditioning. I am in apartment hunting mode – and I really mean hunting – vest, rifle, and all. I search at least 10 apartment websites every day and am desperate to find a good deal before someone else does. One of the sites I check is Craiglist and I saw a listing for ILS 2000 for a fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment on King George st. The pictures attached looked a little too stock photography/hotel – esque but when you’re desparately apartment hunting in Jerusalem and you see a deal like that, you can’t look away. I emailed the person who posted the ad asking about seeing the apartment and here’s what they wrote back: [“Stefano” email@example.com]
thanks for the message. I attached all the pics i have of the
apartment to show that it is fully furnished. I will be renting this
55sqm apartment out for 2000 ILS per month, all bills inclusive.The
apartment is located in the center of Jerusalem on “Hamalech George”
(King George), just three minutes away from “Ben Yehuda st”, two
minutes from the “Beit Hakneset Hagadol” and twenty minutes from “The
Kotel” (The Western Wall). Near Transportation, Shopping, Synagogue
I am renting this apartment out because i am presently out of
Jerusalem, but you can reach me on 002348053001972. We can further
discuss details on phone. I am a volunteer for Anti-HIV campaign
programs in West Africa. I really hope that you will take good care of the apartment.
The utilities in the house are maintained from the rent. It is a
private apartment,all for you.
The apartment was furnished to my taste and that is why i want you to
take good care of it as if it were yours. You can be rest assured that
the apartment will be available for your desired duration of stay if
you make a deposit payment now because i am not in town and will not
be there anytime soon. I did not entrust the apartment in the care of
any agent or anyone. The keys of the apartment are here with me.
I will send you the keys and documents of the house once you make an
initial deposit.If you are interested in renting the house,i will send
you the application form so that i can have and verify your
information before renting out the apartment to you.
After telling a few people about the Craigslist listing, my suspicions were confirmed with people telling me they knew someone who fell for this scam, sent a month’s deposit, and never heard from the guy again. So, I looked in Google for “west africa craigslist scam” and sure enough found tons of people warning others not to fall for the scam.
As if this weren’t enough, I had also emailed another listing on Craiglist that had a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment in Old Katamon. Surely enough, the guy wrote me about his family being in West Africa and when I sent a follow up email demanding to see the apartment first, he sent me the following: (notice that he says the apartment is on Kanfei Nesharim which is in Givat Shaul, not Old Katamon, and not even close):
The cost of the apartment per month ILS2000
the full address of the apartment is :kanfei nesharim street 20 jerusalem,israel youcan go there and see the place yourself and i am quite sure you will like the environment because it is very secured and safe.here is my cell phone number+2347064945797 contact me as soon as possible to know the lastest development so that i know when to contact my Lawyer and start to prepare the paperwork and then later Dhl the keys to the apartment to you after the deposit of the first month rent.Hope to hear from you soon..
-JOHN DAVIES [firstname.lastname@example.org]
So please, please, warn others about this scam so that this guy does not get away with it!!
Here are some other links I found about the West Africa apartment scam:
- List of fake names and email addresses used on Craigslist
- Go West Africa – Craigs List Scam
- Craigslist Rental Scam
- Craigslist had a house for rent – owner claims be in West Africa