Here is a CLASSIC setup in Craigslist. The potential victim (who luckily did not become a victim) replied to an ad for an apartment for rent on Craigslist. Not only do they go for that upfront payment, they also try and collect a lot of identity information while they are at it.
How to avoid this? NEVER ever ever ever do wire transfers. That is how these scammers get money in these scams. Once they pick up that wire transfer (which they do VERY quickly), the money and the scammer are untraceable - and gone.
From: Lucas Wesley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: - $530 Room & Private Bath-Available (berkeley)
Thanks for your interest in my apartment. The apartment is available for long term & short term lease is also acceptable. The building is in a great location situated in the quiet and safe area and offers secure .
Its a spacious and lovely 2-bedroom fully furnished apartment with utilities included. The kitchen is well equipped.Utilities and Equipments: Kitchen well equipped(microwave oven, Dish washer, blender, Cocktail mixer, Sandwich maker, stove e.t.c), all utilities included such as Internet facilities,Parking space, e.t.c
I tried to look for an agent that I could give the document & the keys before I left but could not find any as a matter of urgency. And I don't want home misused in my absence that is why I took the keys and documents along with me. So I hope you will promise me to take very good care of the apartment always.
I have the keys and the apartment documents here with me and I will be shipping it to you through DHL courier service after processing your application form. Attached are the interior pictures and if you like it and willing to proceed with the rental. I will like you to fill the form below and email it back to me asap for processing.
RENTAL APPLICATION FORM
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
ZIP CODE: ____________
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________
HOW MANY MONTH RENT ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY UPFRONT_________
DO YOU HAVE PET _________
KIND OF PETS: _____________
DO YOU SMOKE ______________
DO YOU DRINK ______________
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT _________
Payment will be through wire transfer (Western Union Money Transfer/ Money Gram) and the keys will be shipped to immediately payment as been confirmed.
Once i received the filled copy of the rental application form, I will make an arrangement on how to get the apartment keys and documents shipped to you through DHL courier service without any further delay.
I await your swift response.