Wanna Get Scammed? Use Craigslist!

If you're planning a trip to New York City, chances are you've stumbled upon the Vacation Rentals section of Craigslist (and to a much lesser degree, Backpage). I bet you were surprised to see all those fancy pants apartments for $50-$100 bucks a night! And these aren't your run of the mill apartments that give you a view of your refrigerator from your pull out sofabed. No, these have queen size beds, buttloads of windows, a living room you can park your Lincoln in and kitchens that a chef would be proud of. Well, guess what, numbskull? They ain't real!!! At least, not real in the sense that they aren't really in New York City. And if they are, they're from multi-million dolla penthouses that requires a resume on IMDB or Hall of Fame stats. 

Not convinced? Look, Craigslist may be great if you wanna sell your broken record player or those slacks your ample ass grew out of, but the real estate game is just that - a game. Let's pretend for a second that you actually found a pimped out palace in the middle of Midtown with a lemon sun oozing through those gaudy-ass drapes. Do you really think you're gonna stay in a person's apartment for $50, $60. $70, $100 bucks a night???  With that mentality, you deserve to get ripped. Simple logic dictates your stupidity. The average studio or one bedroom apartment costs $1800-$2200 a month. And that's for a tiny place with those refrigerator views I mentioned before. An apartment like the ones you see on Craigslist with furnishings up the ying-yang cost way friggin' more than that. We're talkin' $3000-$3500 on the low end and $4k and up on the high end. Ask yourself, dummy... Why the hell would a renter charge you less than they're paying? Are the kind of people who can afford that kind of rent, the kind of people that want or need strangers parking their asses in their sheets?

Still blinded by hope? Tell you what, ya greedy gurney... shoot one of these foolios an email and tell them you wanna stay in their place. First off, the dates you want to visit will always be available. Naturally, there is no apartment. Depending on the scammer, you'll either get a short copy/pasted reply, an application or my favorite... the dreaded, "I'm overseas/out of the country and really hope you'll take care of my place while I'm gone". Classic! Secondly, ask them a few questions and pay attention to their vocabulary. Why? Because, dum-dum, they're in Africa or Eastern Europe and English isn't their first language. And last but not least, the final stunner... they ask you to wire transfer a deposit to hold the apartment. And there's the scam. These pricks are smart. They're not looking for the big kill, they want your deposit. Well, yours, the next guy, the next guy and so on... These asshats target small amounts of cash in quantity. They're not looking for a big score from one elephant, they take a little from a bunch of suckas! If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this... Never, ever, ever, no matter how convinced you are...NEVER WIRE TRANSFER MONEY TO ANYONE! And, if you do find one willing to accept a credit card payment via Paypal, don't think you're safe either. These scammers constantly set up accounts overseas and clean them out long before you'd show up homeless in NYC. They even arrange for people in the US with legit Paypal accounts to accept the payment on their behalf. And, speaking of unsavory business practices, Paypal won't do squat after 30 days. If you back out beforehand, there's lots of red tape since you're basically backing out of a transaction. Paypal certainly doesn't want to eat it and knows that it will if you have to resort to filing a chargeback with your credit card company - more red tape.  

So, how do you spot them? Well, you could avoid Craigslist completely since 90% of the rental ads are fake or you can accept the fact that any apartment under $150 a night is a fugazi and any apartment that looks better than your own isn't in NYC unless you've got bank, and to echo my early point - if you got bank you don't want or need to have some filthy freaks in your sheets!

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1 comment:

  1. I know you are right! I got screwed a few years ago and had to look for a new place while in NYC with a group of teenagers. Thanks for posting this to warn others about the craigslist scams.