Victim Location 35601
Type of a scam Rental
This person is claiming to have a condo for rent that is listed at a monthly price below average for the area. He is available by email and text but fails to contact me by phone or return my phone calls. He has an automated recording for his voicemail which should have been a red flag for me initially. When I told him I was interested in applying for the rental property, he told me he was working out of state and would not be able to show me the property in person but sent numerous pictures of the property that had just been renovated. He came up with the excuse for being out of state indefinitently due to COVID but yet he would still be the contact for repairs when needed? His DL information states his name as Lester J Matthew with a LA address. I filled out the rental application that asked for my ssn, DL#, DOB and real estate references/personal and professional history, etc. I should have been cautious when my SSN was being asked for. I was immediately approved within mins of sending my application. He then told me he would overnight me the keys to the property once I sent the security deposit via Cash App. I told him I was uncomfortable doing this since I had already given my personal information and felt like I was at least owed a sign of good faith on his part by sending me the keys to view the property to confirm that the pictures were indeed up to date and belonged to the listing before sending the deposit (which I was a bit uncomfortable with it being via Cash App which is untraceable anyway) but he refused to do so. He was also willing to let me secure the rental with just the deposit until I was able to move in when my lease expired in 3 months which is usually not the norm for most landlords. They want to get it rented asap and aren’t willing to wait a month especially 3 months before move in. At this time, I called Lester several times and he never did return my phone call. He only texted or emailed. I have since notified him that I would be reporting him as a scam artist and asked that he discard my personal information and shred it since he could easily use it for illegal purposes such as identity theft. Please do not send him the deposit money. This is clearly a scam, as I drove by the property for rent and found a vehicle in the driveway and when I knocked on the door to kindly alert the current owners or tenant of the scam over their property, someone looked out the window thru the blinds but did not answer the door. I left them a note explaining the scam. I have yet to receive a call about this so the scam artist could possibly be living in the listed property and collecting deposits from numerous people but never sending keys and getting away with a lot of money from fraudulent advertisements. I originally found the rental listing on Craigslist. I wish I would have never given my SSN or DOB or DL info via email and I will definitely be more aware next time I fill out a rental application.
Please do your homework before ever sending money especially when you have never spoken with the person and they aren’t available to tour the property with you before asking for a deposit.
Don’t be scammed like I was!