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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High up above and deep down under

    Default Scam targets trusting Kiwis looking for accommodation

    Scam targets trusting Kiwis looking for accommodation

    4:00 AM Saturday Jan 16, 2010
    Scammers tried to con Auckland University student Waqar Ahmed Qureshi. Photo / Dean Purcell

    Kiwis have been caught up in an international scam where fraudsters offer fake accommodation and trick victims into sending bond and rent money.
    The scammers target flat-finder websites from all over the world. Once they have made contact with their home-hunting victims via email, they take money from them and then steal their personal details to scam the next person.
    The Herald tracked down one of the victims after discovering her passport was being used as a form of identification to entice other flat-hunters to send money in return for fake accommodation.
    The fraudsters go as far as speaking to the potential tenant over the phone.
    A Kiwi working as a nanny in France, who did not want to be named, paid £1000 ($2214) through the Western Union as a deposit for an apartment in the centre of Paris after exchanging emails with a woman claiming she was in America.
    The 28-year-old, now in London, made contact with the woman via appartager.com, a legitimate French website which people looking for a place to live sign up to.
    The woman, via a Gmail account, sent photos of the property and a copy of her supposed passport as identification which said her name was Camille Emile. The victim sent back a copy of her own passport as ID.
    She then said she would not be back in France for another three months so the nanny would not be able to view the flat.
    However, she provided a phone number for "her brother" when the nanny asked to speak to someone in person. The man's accent sounded neither French nor English, the nanny said.
    The scammer said she would send the keys to the New Zealander once she paid £1000, which she did.
    The Herald tracked down the woman at her parents' Kerikeri home after a copy of her passport turned up in an email to another potential victim, this time a Pakistani national looking for an apartment in Auckland.
    Waqar Qureshi, who moved to New Zealand in 2008 to study at Auckland university, put an advertisement a month ago on nz.easyroommate.com, a legitimate UK-based website with profiles of people looking for rooms to rent or looking for a flatmate.
    The 26-year-old was emailed by three different people, including a woman claiming she was the Kiwi nanny.
    The woman offered Mr Qureshi an apartment on Auckland's Anzac Ave and sent him photos of it.
    She said she was in the UK so was unable to show him the place and asked for a $600 security deposit and $400 for the first week of rent to her mother's account through a Western Union Transfer.
    Mr Qureshi also received emails and passport copies from a woman claiming she was a British citizen and from a man from France, who both said they were out of the country but asked for him to send money. He suspects the genuine passport-holders had also been duped.
    Mr Qureshi said he discovered some of the emails had come from Nigeria. He had not complained to the police but said he wanted to make people aware of the scammers.
    The nz.easyroommate.com website warns of fraud saying anyone asking for payment through the Western Union was "always a scammer" and was usually working from overseas.
    They advise people looking for a flat to never send a rental deposit without seeing the apartment first.
    The Kiwi nanny used the same French website to find another apartment which did not turn out to be a scam. She said she was thinking of reporting the incident to police.
    HOW IT'S DONE* Scammers obtain victims' email addresses from legitimate websites. * Offer the person an apartment and send photos of it. * Send a copy of their supposed passport and ask for copy of the victims'. * Say they are out of the country so are unable to show the apartment. * Ask for an amount to be deposited into their account via a Western Union transfer in return for the keys. * Cease contact with the victim and use his or her passport and other details as a form of identification to scam the next person.
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    Doubtless the W'gton woodenheads will amend
    the RTA to prevent such a thing happening again.
    Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008


    any time you see "western union" your alarms should go off

    i don't what level of id they need but it appears to be lowest of any of the money transfer systems which is why it is beloved of the scammers

    why would an nz nanny ask for money to be sent via western union, a bnz, anz account maybe but western union??

    Because of these security flaws please take note of the following:

    Never use Western Union money transfer or MoneyGram for sending money to any person who you do not know personally. Simply speaking, the Internet and Western Union money transfer or MoneyGram don't mix. Any transaction that involves a person introduced via email or a website (online store, eBay, classified ads site, etc.) should not involve Western Union or Moneygram. These services are fine for wiring cash to a family member who urgently needs it, but do not use it with strangers.

    have you defeated them?
    your demons

  4. #4


    Just an update on this issue, it is definitely still happening. A friend of mine was contacted by a prospective tenant who was suspicious of a property she was offered via email, she had the nouse to check the rates book to find the owner of the property (my friend), she said she had been asked to pay $$$$ into a bank account to secure the property and they would then send the keys to her. My friend said he knew nothing about it and told her not to pay a cent (he has never met her), the scammer also offered her the property at a discounted rate (how generous of him)! She has handed over all the emails from the "property manager" (read scammer) who is apparently on business in China, and he has taken it all to the police although doesn't expect anything to come of that.

    This only happened yesterday, and in little old Dunedin, so be aware that this is still going on!

    Although it doesn't really affect the property owner directly I guess it could do if any prospective tenants were silly enough to pay the money to these scammers then track down the actual owner of the property and ask for their money back!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    It's actually happening on Trade me sites & Sella too on certain big ticket items such as cars and boats. They (outside NZ) tell you that they will buy your item but tell you that they have paid the shipping costs and fees of your item to the shipper & require you to send the item amount back to them through western union. Of course they provide a bill of loading to you etc but when you look up which boat its on and who they gave it too there is no details.
    And 3 times the same person tries it on me with the same email address but different name (thinks im stupid). First time was on Sella, second on Trademe and again on Sella. This has been reported and Have suggested they inform the rest of their sellers & buyers. But who knows if they ever will.

  6. #6

    Default Scammed today!!!!

    Oh my God!! It took me awhile to realise I was being scammed. I had sent the money to the receiver and was informed to use a test question and answer. the scam was for apartments at 15 Whitaker Place, Auckland, New Zealand. I am so embarrased but glad that they did not get the money.
    I asked for I.D to be used to receive the money as well as test question.
    I am so angry it happened to me!!! I havent inform police but will do tomorrow. I was able to successfully cancel the money transfer, Im lucky I actually asked for I.D to be presented by receiver. He called me as soon as I deposited money however five hours later it hasnt been taken out.
    I know that they could not get it taken out. I think they tried to but they couldnt because they had no I.D. They used the names Amanda and Rev Daniel Greekling.

    I so was punked, just wasted my time!!!! arrrrggghhhh lucky I didnt fully move out of the house.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008



    sounds like a close call

    was the money sent to an nz account?

    do you have a link to an advertisement?
    Last edited by Perry; 08-07-2010 at 12:15 AM. Reason: fixed typo
    have you defeated them?
    your demons

  8. #8

    Default I got punk'd

    I am so lost, It is my first time actually looking for an apartment and I am never going alone on this anymore. I put money through western union..?(yep im stupid) but yeah I added on a security i.d check and a test question and answer. The people that scammed me couldnt get the money!!! they had been using someone elses name they scammed previously and tried to get me to wire money to them without them showing i.d, but common sense I thought if they telling the truth then I will put an I.D check on anyway.

    Apparently I was not the only victim. The SCAMMER, puts up the ad, and when he gets a email from someone he takes it off, and puts it back on after for a next victim!! It was on Gumtree listings!!!!

    arrghh lucky i didnt lose any money though


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