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Home > Debt Articles > New Scam to Watch Out For: [email protected] & the Rental Scam

New Scam to Watch Out For: [email protected] & the Rental Scam

I had a friend start to get sucked in on a rental scam that goes like this.

Vivian Coleman or Vivian Coleman posts a well written advertisement for a sublease of a beautiful furnished apartment for a below market rate.

She says that she and her husband have been relocated out of the area and they are looking for someone to care for the apartment while they are gone. But you can’t see the actually apartment until you agree to take it and Vivian approves you. The address of the place is listed in the advertisement so you can drive by and see it is a beautiful place.

Once you reply back to Vivian and say you are interested you get the following email.

Good hearing from you that you are promising us that our flat will be well taken care off,and I really appreciate your expression.So,Like I told you there’s none of my friends or relatives to show you the flat..I want you to stick to your words.Is that okay with you?And the below is the final question that you must answer to qualify for the rent.

Hope you have a nice working day,Infact I will like to meet you when coming to visit you soonest.We do a long term and short term renting anytime you which to leave the place will be grateful and we are ready to rent a long-term for 2 years lease or more.

Note that you will are not allowed to enter the flat,because the keys/document is here with me in New jersey.

(Private & Confidential)
Also,Pls let me get this answer.
1)Your Full Name
2)Present Full Address(where you reside now) & Phone Number to Reach You
4)Are you married?
6)How many people will be living in the house?
7)Do you have a pet?
8)Do you have a car?
9)What is your religion?
11) Citizen of which Country?
11) How Many Month Deposit ???
12) When are you ready to Move In ?
13) When are u planning to leave the flat ?

Looking forward to hear from you with all this details for approval so that i can have it in my file incase of issuing the receipt in your name and contacting you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the documents and the keys to you,Please we are giving you all this transaction is based on Trust & Honesty and again I want you to stick to your words,We are putting everything into Gods hand,so please do not let us down in this property of ours and God bless you more as you do this.

Thanks so much and have a nice day

When my friend Danny showed me the email, alarms immediately started going off. Who asks for your religion on a rental application and why was the ad listed by Vivian so beautifully worded and the email response is so crappy?

A little research on the net uncovered that this is a scam that is being run around the world. The rest of the scam runs like this. Once you fill out the crappy rental application and email it back you will be approved.

The keys and documents will be sent to you but you will need to send money first by Western Union or MoneyGram, sometimes to an address in Lagos, Nigeria. You will be asked to send around $200 to “Vivian” to pay for the FedEx shipping of the keys and documents. There is a variation that involves sending a deposit and first months rent as well.

Once you send the money, you never get anything. That is where the scam ends.

A few points to look for in the advertisement. It may use the term flat instead of apartment and says that it includes hydro instead of water.


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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • http://Website Allen

    If i gave information to him through the application will I be okay how can I report it?

    • Steve Rhode

      What kind of information did you give?


  • http://Website Truth Finder

    Here’s the email received 03.23.10″Brandon Coleman to me show details 9:30 AM (15 hours ago)

    > it is my gladness to hear from you,i am the owner of the Apartment you are making inquiry of.Actually I resided in the apartment with my family,presently we moved away due to my transfer from my working place presently my apartment is still available for rent its including the utilities like hydro,washer and security,it is furnished.More so Now, I went for a Crusade in the West Africa and i will like you to get in touch with my wife in the states for more discussion as She is with the keys and the documents to the Apartment.Pls i want you to note that,i am a kind and honest man and also i spent a lot on my property that i want to give you for rent,so i will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this apartment and want you to treat it as your own,is that taken,I want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for a check up..I do that once in a while..I want have trust in you as i always stand by my words….The rent is $500 per month and its a very nice apartment and you will love it..Where are you located? let us know how soon you are willing to move in.Email my wife, on ([email protected]) and she will attend to you better”

    • Steve Rhode

      Nice to see the place includes washer utilities.

      I’m glad you found this site and won’t get scammed by the fake rental. You might want to notify Craigslist.


  • http://Website Truth Finder

    Currently seeking an apt.and placed an ad in Craig’s list.Not to take anything from the site, as it’s gotten me many a good deal.However, I’ve just been emailed by a Mr. Brandon Coleman who is Vivian Coleman’s husband with an email of [email protected].I’ve never done research on an email before, but certainly glad I did.This is the 1st email and they are awaiting my response.What now?What threw me off is that he said he likes to visit his property often for a check up.And he used the word “hydro!”

  • Bill

    I am being worked right now with this scam. What
    should I do? Contact authority? Play the game with
    them for a little longer?

    I am glad I did a search and found this.

    • Steve Rhode


      I would suggest you mark their email address as spam and ignore it, or, see if you can get what payment method and payment instructions they want you to send the money to and let me know. That would be an interesting piece of the puzzle.


  • Thomas

    I just finished replying to Vivian, who by the way, sent me a stupid application and a picture of her and her husband who is reportedly in West Africa “doing God’s work.” There should be some kind of way to nab these losers and make them pay for their attempted larceny. I just had a gut feeling about this thing after receiving the initial email. Trust your gut!

  • Julie Queen

    I inquired about an apartment in New Orleans and thought I was talking with a real person. Thank God that I read the scam alert on craigslist and investigated. I was not sending any money via western union. They also changed by adding an additionl bedroom for storage and some additional amenities. I am glad I did some research.

  • Carl H. Starrett II

    Who in the United States every refers to a rental unit as a flat? It sounds like the same people who tell me that a relative left me a bunch of money after dying in a Nigerian plane crash. Calling this a scam is an understatement.
    .-= Carl H. Starrett II´s last blog ..California’s 90-Day Foreclosure Moratorium Really Isn’t =-.

  • lucy

    Totally got me too. Gave my address and all, but never sent money.

  • april

    OMG!!!!! I they almost got me i’m so glad i came up here to do my research!! I feel like an idoit, for thinking I was talking to a real person, but they definitely didnt get my money! Oh wow!! I still kind of feel dumb, anyhow, love this site!!

    • Steve Rhode


      Don’t feel bad, the initial ad look so real that even I went with Danny to look at the building from the outside. It wasn’t until the email arrived for the next step that it became very suspicious. I’m sure a lot of people are getting taken on this scam.


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