How Many Red Flags Can You Count?
We would like to play a game with our readers in this week’s top story! The game is called “how many red flags can you count?” We often refer to a “red flag” as any suspicious characteristic about Internet content that suggests it is not what it claims to be. Want to play? Look at this email from Robert Shepherd. It was sent from his AOL address: hie.nie “@” aol.com in response to one woman’s query about a 3 bedroom house that he posted for rent on Craigslist recently: On GATRA bus route and across from Hayward Field. Rent includes…
Look carefully at the Craigslist Ad and Mr. Shepherd’s email below. How many red flags can you spot? You are welcome to use the Internet and your search skills to help you as needed…
Tanks for your interest & property is still available for rent, I'm sorry for my late response I have been very busy lately. I must confess to you i'm new to this Landlord business and I want a responsible person or family who are neat and also believe that they have all what it takes to take care of the property as if it where there own. Please be informed that I'm renting out the property because I was transferred to OHIO USA and i moved with my lovely family on contract project by American Society of Civil Engineers. (http://www.asce.org/).
We wanted to sell the property since we will be staying longer than we though & later my wife advised me not to sell the property anymore. I reasoned with her and accepted her advice so we contacted the agent back and requested for our keys and documents and put it for rent since we will back in the next 4 to 5 years.
We would have given the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent was asking too much of an agent fee and also made the rent high. We were not getting the responses we needed so i decided to terminated our contract with them and put it up for rent ourselves. If you notice, you will discover that the price we are offering is far below standard price and this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property.
The house is available for as long as you want, Rental Features: Stacking Washer/Dryer, Hardwood Flooring in Bedrooms, New Carpet in Living Room. SEE PICTURES BELOW!!!
LOCATION: 84 North Ave, Attleboro, MA 02703
Rent Per Month: $1200 (Including Utilities)
Security Deposit: $1200 (Refundable)
Total Move In: $2400
House Type: Single Family Home
Large: 3 Bedroom 2 Full Bath
Square Feet: 1450 sqft
COMPLETE THE TENANT APPLICATION FORM BELOW:
BEST TIME TO CALL YOU:________
KIDS:_____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY:________
DO YOU HAVE A CAR____(YES/NO), HOW MANY:________
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE LIVING IN THE HOUSE:__________
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR PRESENT HOME:__________
CURRENT LANDLORD NAME AND PHONE NUMBER:__________________
IF THIS HOUSE IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING:_______
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN:________
IF YOU HAVE A PET,
NAME OF PET:_____________
KIND OF PETS:_____________
DO YOU SMOKE:______________
DO YOU DRINK:______________
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT:____
DO YOU AGREE TO MAKE DEPOSIT PAYMENT BEFORE YOU GET THE KEYS AND DOCUMENTS:________
WHEN DO YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE KEYS AND DOCUMENTS:____________
PLEASE NOTE: ATTACH A VALID IDENTIFICATION CARD
Please make sure this questions are filled correctly because the best way you answer with your comment will impress me the more to accept your application. After i have received the above details, i will discuss with my wife (family) and let you know our terms and how we would conclude the renting process so you can move into our home asap. You can drive by the house since I am not in the State and I don't have anyone to show you the inside of the house for now as our lawyer is presently in London, UK for a case and he is so busy right now but i can give you his number to call him, so if you are still interested let me know by filling the form above.
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. You can call or text me for more information on the rental +1(401) 646-0564
I hope to hear from you soonest. God Bless You,
Robert SHepherd & Family
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil...."Proverbs 3: 5-7.
How many “red flags” did you find? We’ve listed ten...
1. We find Mr. Shepherd's AOL email address to be rather odd: hei.nei "@" aol.com. "Hei Nei" as in "nice ass?" or the Polish word for hyena?
2. Mr. Shepherd's post on Craigslist contains just one photo of the house, obviously taken from across the street. This is very suspicious for someone hoping to rent his house. Wouldn't he want to show the inside and backyard? (This photo is also the same photo we find on several legitimate realty sites on the Internet.)
3. We used Zillow.com to conduct a search for rental homes in Attleboro, MA on March 1. Not only did we NOT find this home, but the cheapest rental we found of the 5 homes listed was $2000/month, well above the $1000/month that Mr. Shepherd is asking! (At Rentals.com we couldn’t even find ANY homes for rent in Attleboro on March 1, 2020.)
4. The name “Robert Shepherd” sounds like such an American, British or Australian name. (Check out Wikipedia’s information about the name “Shepherd.”) The name strongly suggests that this person grew up in a place where English was his native language. So why then, is Mr. Shepherd’s English so awful? It is filled with many errors suggesting that English is NOT his first language. We find that very suspicious!5. Mr. Shepherd goes to great lengths to explain that he has moved away (and presumably cannot show you the house personally --we’ve seen this many times before from rental scams on Craigslist!). It is overkill to send you a link to his “place of employment” as if that makes his claims legitimate. They do not. He goes on to say that he and his wife have taken the house back from the sales agent and are renting it themselves (long distance!). That claim is a HUGE red flag, and leads us to #6….
6. Mr. Shepherd listed the home’s location as 84 North Ave, Attleboro, MA 02703. On March 1, Google returns at least 8 links informing us that the rental price for this home was $2200/month back in January. But on March 1, several websites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com all inform us that this home is no longer for rent. And yet, Mr. Shepherd’s ad is still on Craigslist for $1000. Why is that?
7. Mr. Shepherd’s ad on Craigslist clearly says $1000/month but his email says it rents for $1200/month. His Craigslist description also says “Full bath with shower” while his email says “2 Full bath.” These are important discrepancies to note!
8. Some of Mr. Shepherd’s “application” questions are ludicrous! Why does he need to know the name of your pet? It might even be illegal for him to ask if someone drinks or works late in his consideration for renting his home or not. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, this question is a HUGE red flag: “DO YOU AGREE TO MAKE DEPOSIT PAYMENT BEFORE YOU GET THE KEYS AND DOCUMENTS.” This question is PROOF that this is a scam!
9. This paragraph is a complete lie and should send every reader running to flag this ad as fraudulent: “You can drive by the house since I am not in the State and I don't have anyone to show you the inside of the house for now as our lawyer is presently in London, UK for a case and he is so busy right now but i can give you his number to call him, so if you are still interested let me know by filling the form above.”
10. Mr. Shepherd’s “Trust in the Lord” quote at the end is also suspicious. African scammers rely heavily on using “faith” as a means to build trust in the victims they target. It is simply part of their bait sitting on the lure.
If you spot other red flags we’ve missed, please share them with us! Send your response to email@example.com.
We have one other email for readers to turn their eagle eyes on. This one came to a young man who uses dating apps like Tinder. He received this email from “Hazel Rose” and shared it with us. How many red flags can you count? Enjoy!
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