23 Oct “Don’t get ripped off with fake ads!”
I could write a piece of fiction or tell you something I’ve heard or read, but no, it is a real and very recent experience. It is happening. Suddenly you receive calls asking for a flat for rent of which you have no knowledge and of course not advertised and in parallel you see charges for the publication of one or more ads on a well-known real estate portal.
You try to access the portal to see your profile and, oh surprise, you can’t get access because the data isn’t correct. Without signing in as a user, entering your phone in the portal to check the properties advertised with that phone you see that there are several ads and each more amazing than the previous one.
They are wonderful, renovated, spacious, furnished homes in the best areas of Madrid or Barcelona and at really surprising prices. And meanwhile the phone doesn’t stop ringing, no wonder, with those prices, these apartments are really a miracle. Even more when you consider how difficult it is to find housing available for rent in those cities right now.
It becomes impossible to use the phone, the calls are incessant and the messages never stop. At this moment you have to cancel the card and get in touch with the real estate portal. If there is luck and it’s during business hours, they will cancel the ads and confirm that the charges on the card will be returned. If you have to pass a night, better turn off the phone so you don’t hear or see the hundreds of calls and messages.
- What happened? Somehow, someone has appropriated the user data and has accessed the portal, immediately changing the user email. Then they have posted ads paying with the card that is not completely visible but it is nevertheless stored in the profile.
- What’s up for them? At the outset, to greatly annoy the supplanted user and damage the portal image. But this isn’t the scam.
- What is the scam? The most important thing and the real aim of all this is to get contacts of potential interested tenants via an email introduced in the supplanted profile. These people, desperately in search of a flat for rent, when they are unable to contact by telephone (remember we have disconnected it or at least silenced it) write an email explaining their urgency, that they are interested in the apartment and that they want to see it immediately. It is then when they are asked for money in advance to book and that’s it, the are scammed.
- How many are fooled? Even with only a few (maybe not that few), at 200 – 300 € downpayment, they already have a significant amount to go for the next scam.
This can also happen in sale ads, requesting downpayments, booking fees, etc., but it’s less usual.
And as a moral, let’s be suspicious of those impossible, perfect, renovated, spacious, well-located houses and at a dreamed price, but not market price. No one gives anything free, and in this case, on the contrary, they scam
Watch out and don’t be fooled, don’t even get bothered!