“Beautiful 1 bedroom, perfect for a tidy, respectful young couple”
This was the title of the Craigslist ad I responded to last April with high hopes.
Two weeks later I was out of $1300, apartment-less and feeling like the world’s biggest idiot. I had become a victim of the “I’m a [insert very respectful job that only a wonderful person does here] and I am out of the country with my family to work in Europe for the next five years and I need someone really great who will take over my second apartment” scam.
The thing with people who scam for a living is that like most people who are career crime-sters, they are really good at it. If you are unsuspecting (which I completely was) or even worse, a Toronto newbie who has never rented before (hey, I was both) your scammer comes off as a really nice person who is willing to phone you at 3am “England time” to explain to you in great detail about how to money transfer your first and last month of rent. Your scammer will do almost anything to make it easier for you to hand over your money — but once that money has been removed from your bank account, your really nice doctor/engineer/teacher family-man landlord gives you literally nothing but radio silence. When I say nothing I am definitely implying that yes; you for sure are not getting that “Beautiful 1 bedroom, perfect for a tidy, respectful young couple”.
Que the tears and the calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
The best way to avoid being scammed is to be realistic about the rental places you find on the internet. Websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, Apartmint, Padmapper, etc can be great resources for a student on the hunt BUT it’s so important to keep in mind the old adage: “if it’s seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Absolutely no one is going to rent out their 1000 square foot, fully furnished King West loft for seven hundred dollars a month. If you do decide to use these websites, here are some things to keep in mind: