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Old 27.06.2017, 17:59
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Potential Apartment Scam

Recently I have been looking into a lot of apartments. Today the following happened. I am not certain it is a scam, but it looks like one. Please let me know if you have encountered similar situation before or that I have totally missed one hell of a jackpot.


I saw a lovely apartment on homegate, 10min away from HB by foot (northeast direction), 70 square meters, furnished, parking space available (for free), pets welcome, students welcome - 1700 CHF per month (all bills included). A lovely price considering the current market situation.


So I dropped them a message that I want a viewing. In an hour or so, I did receive an email from a lady who claims to be a scientist (different name than the one in the homegate advert) that she has received my email and wants to tell me more about herself. Basically the story was that she is no longer living in Zurich, she is looking for clean and quiet tenants, asked what is our monthly income, etc.


So I told her more about me and my partner, sent her LinkedIn profiles for a reference, answered her question about income, etc, suggested a skype interview.


Then suddenly, she responded that she wants us as her tenants and asked us if we are interested. WOW, that was easy. At that time I was so happy, that did not consider all the awkward stuff. So I said yes. At that time the advert has disappeared from homegate, which made me believe she took it down because she likes us.


Her following email was saying that she works with an agency (since she is not in the country) to arrange the viewing and handover of the keys, etc and I will receive follow up steps from them, but she did briefly mention some of those:
- pay one month rent plus one deposit to the company (just one?!?)
- receive the keys for the apartment, plus contract
- Viewat the apartment within 14 days. If you like it, sign the contract and move in. If you don't return the keys and get refund from the company.


That was the part which kept me away.
So, please tell me that I did not miss the super jackpot.
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Old 27.06.2017, 18:05
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

100% scam!
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Old 27.06.2017, 18:17
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

That's no scam, no free prostitutes, no Porsche GT3 parked in the garage space....i say your user name is very well chosen....
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Old 27.06.2017, 18:23
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

Quote:
That's no scam, no free prostitutes, no Porsche GT3 parked in the garage space....i say your user name is very well chosen....

haha...well thank you
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Old 27.06.2017, 18:35
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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I saw a lovely apartment on homegate, 10min away from HB by foot (northeast direction), 70 square meters, furnished, parking space available (for free), pets welcome, students welcome - 1700 CHF per month (all bills included). A lovely price considering the current market situation.
Strike one. Unbelievable low price. (Most of the times such apartments are also advertised with amenities not found in any Swiss apartment, or photos from foreign apartments)

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So I dropped them a message that I want a viewing. In an hour or so, I did receive an email from a lady who claims to be a scientist (different name than the one in the homegate advert)
Strike two.

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that she has received my email and wants to tell me more about herself. Basically the story was that she is no longer living in Zurich, she is looking for clean and quiet tenants, asked what is our monthly income, etc.
Strike three. Lengthy story why she rents and can not be present for viewing.

Normaly, three strikes means you are out.

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- pay one month rent plus one deposit to the company (just one?!?)
- receive the keys for the apartment, plus contract
- Viewat the apartment within 14 days. If you like it, sign the contract and move in. If you don't return the keys and get refund from the company.
Strike four. Money before viewing and contract.

No money for viewing or contract. Deposit only to be paid AFTER signing contract (!!) into a special rental deposit account with a Swiss retail bank and running on tenants name!

If somebody is out of the country an d rents an apartment, he has someone locally which can provide access to the apartment. most often you will only deal with the local rental agency (Verwaltung / Hausverwaltung).
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Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 27.06.2017 at 19:36.
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Old 27.06.2017, 19:30
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

It's amazing people fall for this stuff, but it must happen all the time.

3400 profit for some con artist to spend maybe half an hour on the phone/writing emails.
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Old 27.06.2017, 19:54
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

It does sound highly scammy. The price is good, the place will rent itself out without any need for this circus of 14 days trial. But if you have a lot of free time on your hands and want to check the tiny odds of this being true, you could play along up to the point before having to transfer the money, and confront them with a request to visit the property first or just check with people actually living at given address - if scam is confirmed, you can file a criminal complaint with the police about it. Hopefully there'll be a paper trail, homegate ads aren't free, somebody paid
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Old 27.06.2017, 20:43
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

Yeah, I expect homegate would like to know they'd been helping a scammer too.
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Old 27.06.2017, 21:03
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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...parking space available (for free)...
This bit is what told me it's a scam.
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Old 28.06.2017, 09:29
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

This thread reminded me of this.

How about doing something similar to this to teach her a lesson?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpxmImlM76Y
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Old 28.06.2017, 10:41
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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70 square meters, furnished, parking space available (for free), pets welcome, students welcome - 1700 CHF per month (all bills included). A lovely price considering the current market situation.
Free parking? Someone would be in heaven *sorrycouldn'tresist*

This alone makes it clear it's a scam. As I keep saying here and elsewhere, if it seems to good to be true, it usually is. 1700 for 70sqm incl bills and free parking in Zurich city - yeah nope.

And if that's not sufficient proof:

Quote:
she is no longer living in Zurich, she is looking for clean and quiet tenants, asked what is our monthly income, etc.

- pay one month rent plus one deposit to the company (just one?!?)
- receive the keys for the apartment, plus contract
- Viewat the apartment within 14 days. If you like it, sign the contract and move in. If you don't return the keys and get refund from the company.
Just no.

Report the name (which isn't his/her real one I'm sure, but still) plus phone number or any other contact information to Homegate.
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Old 28.06.2017, 11:10
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

Just to be clear as you did not specify, is she the legal owner or is she looking for a sub-leasing tenant?
If she claims to be the owner, and you are still intrigued by the property, maybe you can check with the land registry if she actually is the owner or not?
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Old 28.06.2017, 11:26
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Recently I have been looking into a lot of apartments. Today the following happened. I am not certain it is a scam, but it looks like one. Please let me know if you have encountered similar situation before or that I have totally missed one hell of a jackpot.


I saw a lovely apartment on homegate, 10min away from HB by foot (northeast direction), 70 square meters, furnished, parking space available (for free), pets welcome, students welcome - 1700 CHF per month (all bills included). A lovely price considering the current market situation.


So I dropped them a message that I want a viewing. In an hour or so, I did receive an email from a lady who claims to be a scientist (different name than the one in the homegate advert) that she has received my email and wants to tell me more about herself. Basically the story was that she is no longer living in Zurich, she is looking for clean and quiet tenants, asked what is our monthly income, etc.


So I told her more about me and my partner, sent her LinkedIn profiles for a reference, answered her question about income, etc, suggested a skype interview.


Then suddenly, she responded that she wants us as her tenants and asked us if we are interested. WOW, that was easy. At that time I was so happy, that did not consider all the awkward stuff. So I said yes. At that time the advert has disappeared from homegate, which made me believe she took it down because she likes us.


Her following email was saying that she works with an agency (since she is not in the country) to arrange the viewing and handover of the keys, etc and I will receive follow up steps from them, but she did briefly mention some of those:
- pay one month rent plus one deposit to the company (just one?!?)
- receive the keys for the apartment, plus contract
- Viewat the apartment within 14 days. If you like it, sign the contract and move in. If you don't return the keys and get refund from the company.


That was the part which kept me away.
So, please tell me that I did not miss the super jackpot.
Amazing how you have given some obvious scammers your many of your personal details. If only people could get common sense injections at their local doctors.
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Old 28.06.2017, 11:32
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Just to be clear as you did not specify, is she the legal owner or is she looking for a sub-leasing tenant?
If she claims to be the owner, and you are still intrigued by the property, maybe you can check with the land registry if she actually is the owner or not?
Why? It's 100% a scam, she (prob he) has absolutely no connection with the property at all.
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Old 28.06.2017, 11:53
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Just to be clear as you did not specify, is she the legal owner or is she looking for a sub-leasing tenant?
If she claims to be the owner, and you are still intrigued by the property, maybe you can check with the land registry if she actually is the owner or not?
Dear Lord... *slaps forehead*
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Old 28.06.2017, 12:12
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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100% scam!
Mike - would you please stop!!! I'm trying to earn a decent living here and you're not helping!!!

To the OP - it's not a scam, really, it's OK. Send me a PM after you've sent me the money
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Old 28.06.2017, 12:13
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Amazing how you have given some obvious scammers your many of your personal details. If only people could get common sense injections at their local doctors.


Many? Just my name and LinkedIn profile and how much I am paid. How useful could that information be?
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Old 28.06.2017, 12:16
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Many? Just my name and LinkedIn profile and how much I am paid. How useful could that information be?
Names, photos, work history... did you also give them your home address? Telephone number to contact you on? This is more than enough to commit basic identity fraud.
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Old 28.06.2017, 12:21
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Names, photos, work history... did you also give them your home address? This is more than enough to commit basic identity fraud.


Your name and photos could be available in your FB profile as well. Which basically means that anyone could steal your identity that way. I have not given my home address, neither pictures of my documents, just links to LinkedIn. Which is public information, anyway. When you think about it, just looking at my email address (firstname.lastname), even if I have not responded to the very first email received, could lead to LinkedIn or any other social networks. I do not think identity theft is that easy.
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Old 28.06.2017, 12:37
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Re: Potential Apartment Scam

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Many? Just my name and LinkedIn profile and how much I am paid. How useful could that information be?
This morning I had an email in my inbox containing:
Quote:
Hi %my_name%,

You will be charged $ 3,054.79 on your Visa card instantly.
See attachment for information.
Password is 2225

Yours sincerely!
Brain
Now, I could have hit reply, and:
  • Asked if the charge was a one off or recurring payment.
  • Asked what it was that I had purchased from him.
  • Told him that my password isn't 2225, but actually 1234.

Or even retrieved the attachment from my virus quarantine and opened it.

Instead, I just deleted the email.

But now I'm wondering... perhaps I missed out on some chance to correct a billing error which has been chalked up to my Visa Card. What should I do?
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