Friday, June 15, 2012

What a scammer looks like

Me and Sara Marie are looking for a new place to stay. We decided to try out Trollhättan, in part because it's nearly impossible to find a place we like here in Göteborg.

I posted an ad in Blocket, which is a local for-pay classified site. (Craiglist never made it over here in Sweden.)

Yesterday I got email from a (that's "Richhkw Brww" in the Yahoo name, or "Richard" in the signature) saying that he had an apartment for rent in Trollhättan. He sent a followup today with details, and pictures.

Here's the text:

Thanks for the mail, i am so happy to let you know that the apartment is still very much available for rent.Here are some important information about the apartment. The apartment cost 3500SEK per month including all bills such as water, electricity, gas,internet, Satellite TV, Air conditioning, Clothes Dryer,Telephone, Hydro, Washer, e.t.c 4500SEK for security deposit payment which is refundable while packing without any lost or damage of my properties.The apartment is located at Kungsgatan 81 461 52 Trollhättan, Sweden and it just about 1.2km distance to its metro station,the apartment spacious is about 60sqm and a room is about 30sqm, restaurant and public transport all around and it's 8mins walking distance to the supermarket, so it's located in a very nice and safe area in Sweden.

However, my Apartment is fully furnished in and out with all necessary house use. At this stage that you want to rent my flat, i need to know some few question about you. Can you take care of my flat as it is? How many months do you intend to rent and pay for?

Kindly reply for further information and i would like to know where you are coming from to stay in my flat.

Attached are some pics of how my apartment looks like. Kindly let me know if you will be interested in renting my apartment so that we can proceed further.

There's a few signs that this is fraudulent. 3500 SEK is US$500/month, and about half the current market rate for a furnished 60 sq. meter/650 sq. feet bedroom that close to the center of town, and that's excluding utilities!

Who ever heard of an apartment in Sweden with air conditioning?

I visited Kungsgatan 81B last week. It was in another ad on Blocket, which I answered. I got a showing already. Notice the "B"? There is an A and a B to this address, which the scammer omitted.

The email "" is used in a very similar ad in Zurich, dated a few weeks ago. Strange to have an apartment in Trollhättan and in Zurich.

My hope, btw, is to burn the usefulness of the account for further scams.

Most fun is that the scammer sent pictures of the inside of the place. The kitchen is apparently on the first floor, while the living room is on the third. The have quite different views outside of the windows, and neither of them match the place I visited last week, which I verified by using Google Street View.

The scammer is lazy, and reuses old text. The phrase "including all bills such as water, electricity" was used in this reported scam of 'JENKINS KELLY (', and this one of Kelly Richardson ( in Groningen, and this one by Georgios ( in Zurich, and Melanie in Basel and one in Sydney many others. Sigh, I'm not feeling special any more. ;)

Followup: I replied to the scammer, in part to find more information which might help others doing an internet search to find particular patterns. The response was the same as other emails:

I will be willing to have my apartment rented out to you only if you can assure me to take very good care of my apartment for me in my absence..

You can rent my apartment for as long or short as you want because presently am in UK i was just been transferred here for a contract job and that's why am renting out my apartment. You can go to my apartment address and see it but you wont gain full entrance into the apartment because its locked and am here with the keys that's why i sent you my apartment pictures so you can have an idea of how the inside looks like...

Normally I make use of an agent or friends but due to the way they cheat on my tenants that's the reason why i normally travel with my keys.

I am asking because I like doing things in a straight forward way and wont want to cause any delay.

A little about myself,I am a married to my lovely wife and have 2 kids.I am down to earth,tidy and neat as you can see in the apartment pictures. I am a construction engineer and I love my job and I believe loving what you do is the key in life. I will like for you to introduce yourself a bit more for acquaintance reasons. if there is anything you need to know ask i am always online or reach me on +447035949677

Kindly let me know of your interest..

Numbers starting "44703594" seem to be involved in scams (like this example). These numbers forward elsewhere, so are meaningless on its own.