The Scam Has Been Rent From The Scammer

, , , , | Friendly | October 23, 2017

(I respond to a few of those infamous “nice house for rent at an unreasonably low price” ads, thinking at worst they’re obvious scams and no harm done, or at best I’ve found the deal of the century. I get various replies to my emails of inquiry, all obvious scams. What I notice, though, is how many of them are using the same story: “I’m a Christian missionary going on a two-year missions trip to Africa, and I want to find a nice Christian family to take care of my house while I’m gone. I’ve already left, so please just send me a $100 good-faith deposit and I’ll send you the keys and let you look around. We can exchange paperwork afterwards if you like the place.” I decide to amuse myself in an email exchange.)

Me: “You’re going on a missions trip to Africa, too? Hallelujah! I’ve recently been in contact with [Other Scammer who replied to my emails] about their house also for rent. Do you know each other?”

Scammer: “Yes, we all know each other; we are on the same mission trip.”

Me: “That’s amazing. How many of you are going?”

Scammer: “There are twelve people going. Please send the good faith deposit and I will send you the keys.”

Me: “What about [Yet Another Scammer with the same scam]?”

Scammer: “Yes, we are all friends and are here in Africa together. Here is a link where you can send the good faith deposit.”

Me: “Well, I think it’s wonderful how so many of you are together doing the Lord’s work. It’s too bad all of you had to leave so quickly and none of you could find renters for these nice houses.”

Scammer: “Well, we leave very quickly. Please let me know if you have other questions.”

Me: “Thank you; I do. What are the names of the streets their houses are on?”

Scammer: “I do not understand and do not know about their houses; that is their responsibility. Please send the $100 so I can send you the keys. I know you will love my house.”

Me: “Well, you’re all there together, so can you ask them? Let me know if it’ll take time to reach them if they’re not right next to you; I can wait. I don’t even need both street names. Just one. Name one of the streets their houses are on. And if you can manage that, I’ll throw in a $10,000 donation to your mission trip, whether or not I go with your house.”

(I never heard back.)

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