By Doctor Security
Recently, I came across a type of phishing scam that I hadn’t seen before, but I would guess it has been around for awhile. It appears, based on the writing style, to be devised by the same folks who gave us the Nigerian Advanced Fee Scam.
This scheme comes via a posting on the apartment rentals in SF Bay Area section of Craigslist.org’s website. It is an offer for an apartment that sounds to good to be true. For those in the process of fine tuning their personal B.S. meters, this is your first red flag. There are many more.
Recently, I was made aware of this scam when it was forwarded to me by a relative who asked: “Is this legit?” He really wanted it to be true. That is the psychology behind these types of schemes: get people to ignore their personal B.S. meter warnings. The goal is to get a potential victim to reveal their personal and/or financial accounts and passwords, which, of course, leads to their identity being stolen and/or bank account being emptied.
Below, is the phisher’s email response when asked for more information regarding the great apartment at a low price (I have underlined each suspicious point and explained why in italics)…I did not even bother with all the numerous spelling and grammar errors:
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 19:08:26 -0800
Subject: Re: Apartment in
Thanks for your email and interest in renting my Apartment..I am Reverend Franck Wilson,the owner of the Apartment you are making enquiry of…Actually I resided in the Apartment with my family, my wife and my only daughter before and presently we have moved out due to my transfer from my work now in United Kingdom [Be cautious with someone who isn’t local] Presently my Apartment is still available for rent for $750 Per Month (rent already includes utilities ) [ Be cautious price is below the current market for similar apartments].
More so Now, i’m currently in
This is the address of the Apartment: (
..It has a Lovely home in a nice neighbourhood is known for excellent schools. Conveniently located with nearby shopping centers, hospitals, free ways and public transportation. This is a must see. Amenities W/D Hookups Central Heat & A/C Granite Tiled Fireplace Ceiling Fans Vaulted Ceilings Cable Available Broadband Available Custom Drapes in Living Room, Dining Room, & Master Bedroom Blinds.
SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN RENTING THE APARTMENT I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE
RENT APPLICATION FORM.
************RENT APPLICATION FORM*************
1)Your Full Name:
2)Your Full Address:
4) Sex ?
5)How old are you?:
6)Are you married?:
7)How many people will be living in the Apartment?:
8)Do you have a pet?:
9)Do you have a car?:
11)When do you intend moving in : Date ?
12)When do you intend to moving out : Date ?
13)How many months or year contract?:
14)Deposit : One or Two month Deposit are required
15)Picture of the Occupant? [For his “Gullible People I Have Swindled” photo album.]
TAKE NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY DRIVE BY AND SEE MY APARTMENT FROM THE OUTSIDE [What?! You expect me to give you my personal information before I see the inside? I’m the one who should be SHOUTING in all caps.] AND IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN RENTING THE APARTMENT GET THE APPLICATION FORM FILLED SO THAT I CAN MAKE OUT ARRANGEMENT TO SHIP OUT THE KEYS [Seriously, you have the keys to the apartment in the U.K. that you have to “ship out” every time someone wants to see the place?] & DOCUMENT TO YOU AS SOON AS YOU ARE READY. I WOULD HAVE REALLY LOVE TO SHIP THE KEYS TO SOMEONE IN THE STATE BUT I DON'T HAVE ANYBODY THERE RIGHT NOW [Why’s that Reverend? Didn’t you make any friends while you lived in the apartment?] AND I DON'T WANT TO MAKE USE OF ANY THIRD PARTY THAT IS WHY AM HANDLING MY PROPERTY MYSELF.
Monthly Rent: $750
Pets Allowed: Yes
Available : Available Now for move in.
So pls get back to me today.
I await your reply ASAP.
Regards and God bless you!!!
Reverend Franck Wilson.
Now, if you were to complete the application and send it off, the next response from the Reverend would be a request for a deposit or for your banking information before he sent you the keys. If you cooperated and did as requested, I’m confident you would never receive the keys or hear from him again…Unless he thought he could get more money out of you.
If you still don’t believe this is the work of a scammer and that it may be a legitimate apartment advertisement, read on: I sent “Reverend Franck Wilson” an inquiry about his apartment for rent from a separate email address without referencing the location. He responded with the exact same email only the apartment address listed a street with no number and the city was stated as
It’s a jungle out there, folks. Don’t be a pigeon. Keep your guard up.