Looking For Apartment – Scam

Hey guys,
long time no see – regrettably I am not in the mood lately to post anything (and regarding Pokémon there’s nothing much to talk about *lol*)

But today I want to talk about something that a lot of people experienced and I was about to fall for it as well: Scam!

Situation: I am looking for an apartment in Hannover.
I found a really nice one which is also cheap for the area, so I thought to contact the owner of the advertisement.

Half an hour later the ad was deleted – if by the owner or the site itself, I don’t know.
“Weird”, I thought and was looking for other options.

4 hours later I received a mail in my junk folder. By the owner of that apartment.
In German, so I am going to rough translate it:

Hallo,

Die monatliche Miete ist 500€
(einschließlich Stromkosten, Gaskosten, Wasserkosten und
TV-Internetzugang, 2 Parkplatz-Tiefgarage). Die Kaution ist 1.000€.

Die Haustiere sind erlaubt. Sie können mieten die Wohnung von minimal
1 Monat bis zu 10 Jahren (mit Verlängerungsmöglichkeit). Die Wohnung
haben Möbel aber ich kann es zu entfernen falls Sie es wollen. Die TV
und Internetverbindung sind enthalten im Mietpreis. Innenausrüstung:
Waschmaschine, Mikrowelle, Staubsauger, Kühlschrank, Herd. Ich reise
mit meinem Job und ein Treffen von Angesicht zu Angesicht ist nicht
möglich. Wir können nutzen eine Immobilienagentur für diese Miete
Prozess. Ich komme aus Großbritannien also bitte entschuldigen mich
mein schlechtes Deutsch.

Hi,
the monthly rent is 500 EUR (incl Gas, Electricity, Water, TV/Internet, 2 parking lots in an underground car park. Security guarantee is 1000 EUR.
Pets are allowed. You can rent the apartment min 1 month to 10 years (possible to extend). The apartment is equipped with furniture but I can let these remove if needed. TV and internet are included in price. Equipment: washing machine, micro wave, vacuum cleaner, fridge, oven.
I travel with my job and can not meet directly. We can use a rental agency for this process. I live in Great Britain, please excuse my bad German.
(email included a link to a Google Drive with pictures, also stating more than 40 people having access to these)

I replied:

Hello,

it’s no problem for me to communicate in English.

I am a German Expat currently living in the Netherlands and can visit the place earliest in January – between 6th and 18th of January, to be precise.

I am moving with my own furniture except kitchen furniture as in sink, cupboards and oven etc, I would embrace the option to have these stay in the apartment.

Washing machine and fridge could stay as well – I’d sell mine here (makes it easier for moving too – I guess)

Please tell me if you find a possibility to let me see the apartment in above mentioned period 🙂

Kind regards,

The next reply made me wary!

Hello,
The rent is 500€ per month. The deposit is 1.000€. The total amount to pay is 1.500€ (1 month rent and the deposit).
In the monthly rent you have included: Water, Gas, Electricity, TV-Internet connection, 2 Parking places, waste disposal.
I am ready to send you the keys so that you visit and check the apartment. The delivery of the keys and the lease (signed by me) will be made by Airbnb (airbnb. com), they will also help us as a third party to make the transaction. Their rental process service give a protection for both of us.
Caution – The money must be sent to Airbnb before you get the keys. If you agree send me your data to start the transaction. After I receive the confirmation from Airbnb that you made the transfer, I will send the parcel with the rental contract and the apartment key. I will send the tracking number to Airbnb and to you. If you do not agree I will not start the transaction. If you don’t like the apartment, Airbnb will refund the transfer to your bank account. If you decide to rent it, Airbnb will send the transfer to my bank account.
To start the transaction I need the following information:
Full name:
Street:
City:
Postal Code:
Country:
Mobile number:
– If you want to pay in advance for 6 months or 1 year, I can make a discount. For 6 months you will pay 2.500€ ( + 1.000€ the deposit) and for 1 year you will pay 4.500€ ( + 1.000€ the deposit).
– How much do you want to pay: 1.500€ (1 month rent and the deposit), 2.500€ (for 6 months + 1.000€ the deposit) or 4.500€ (for 1 year + 1.000€ the deposit)?
I’ll pay for the services of the agency, so there is no cost to you.
Thank you,
So, before doing anything or getting over-excited – I only heard bad things about airbnb so far!
I started googling. The guy’s name (Lewis Barkley) and the email address – both ended up at the same websites!
I found many entries regarding scam sent by the same or different people’s names and either the same or varying content.
Some of these links being (only German as I was looking for German results, but I’m sure there are English results too):
Wohnungsbetrug
So a warning to all fellow people looking for apartments!
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT SCAMMERS USE OFFICIAL AND USUALLY TRUSTED WEBSITES TO FIND THEIR VICTIMS!
Good luck!
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