I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Room for rent scam.

Sorry for the silence here lately. I've been busy with line edits of Bitterwood, plus work on a new novel called 13 Nails, plus actively hunting for a roommate. The roommate hunt had an interesting twist this week when I almost got scammed. A woman who said she was from London responded to my ad on Craig's List and said she was coming to the US for 4 months to teach seminars in Raleigh. I wrote her back aswering her questions about he room, but also explaining that Hillsborough isn't actually that close to Raliegh. She wrote back immediately saying she would take the room and asking for an address so she could have her boss cut me a money order for the deposit. I thought this was odd. Also, she didn't answer some of my questions like who she worked for or whether it was a problem that the room was unfurnished. So I googled "craig's list room for rent scams" and discovered that there's a scam where people will agree to rent your room or buy an item for sale sight unseen. Then, they send you a money order for an ammount with an extra zero in it. So, you get a money order for 2500 instead of 250 say. You of course email them back saying there's been a mistake. They tell you to deposit the money order and wire back the difference. And, of course, a week later the money order turns out to be counterfiet, and you're left holding the bill. I wrote the woman back telling her I was concerned this might be a scam. I didn't hear from her after this, of course. Still, it's funny how close I almost came toward falling for at least the upfront part of this and giving her my address. If she'd answered my question about an employer with a company I could have googled, and said she was teaching in Durham or Chapel Hill instead of Raleigh, I might not have had alarm bells go off.

The photos posted her, by the way, are of my house now that I actually live in it with furniture and everything. Potential thieves, please note: No TV and my computer is about 5 years old at this point and maybe worth $25 on ebay. The most valuable items you could snag would be my washer and dryer and, really, if you are willing to lug around a washer and dryer for crime, you may as well go ahead and get a real job. Moving appliances is a pretty marketable skill.

Soon, I will be posting a lot of information about Bitterwood. Lots of exciting developments. Also, I'll soon start talking about other Solaris Books. The first ones are hitting stores any day now. Amazon is showing The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin is now shipping, though the Solaris website shows it's release in February. I'll post a review here once I get my hands on it.


Mary Robinette said...

I'm glad you're smarter than the average bear.

James Maxey said...

I think the thing that most triggered my alarms was the fact that her first email was really polished, but by the third email she had fallen into full spammer random capitolization mode. Her third email to me was this: "Hello Please Kindly Hit Me Back as soon as You have Made Up Your Mind On these Rent Issue ...and for Your Information I will very Happy To have the room ok ....Please don't disappoint me coz I have already Contacted My Boss and His Ready To Issue The first Month rent Payment Upfront Okay." It's pretty easy to recognize this as a potential red flag....

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Beerwolf said...

I posted a room for rent and got 3 emails almost identical. Belgium, South Africa, and Tennessee. Their spelling and grammar was horrendous so I thought I'd google room for rent scams. After reading your post I realized a guy was trying to scam me on the couch I was selling the same way. Thanks for post !

budapestbrit said...

Mrs Rix is still scamming. 1 of my Hungarian students was looking for accom online and his girlfriend saw at Gumtree site an ad.Bright and Spacious Apartment in Oxford 140 GBP pw with 400 pounds security deposit.
New scammers email address sharonrix.rix@gmail.com Dear Peter and ildy
> Thanks for your reply, i can make reservation for you.
> More so, owing to my past unpleasant experience of inviting intending
> tenant to view my flat without confirming if they are actually able
> to pay their rent at the right time has caused me a great discomfort
> and as such do not want to experience it anymore, because i have to
> travel all the way from Scotland to take interested candidate round my
> flat. I have discovered over the years that Some outside tenants do
> not have the money to pay the rent and yet they disturb the the
> landlord to arrange a viewing with their friend or relative who are in
> London, also some do not meet up with the appointments which has led
> to the dismissal of some landlords in office by there employees.
> However, you will need to make a reservation deposit but before
> that,my lawyer will need some few information from you to draft a
> contract which you'll print and bring along with you on your arrival
> date to my flat.
> Your full name:
> Present address:
> Confirmed move-in date:
> Purpose of visit to the UK:
> Kindly get back to me with this information so that i can forward it
> to my lawyer in time.
> Best Regards
> Mr/Mrs Rix
> +447024092745

THEN 2nd email....

Thanks for your reply. I wouldn't want you to get me wrong as i didn't
> ask you to send the deposit to me directly, the idea of making a
> confirmation of your financial ability is not only my idea, my lawyer
> and i decided to use that process and i can't violate the procedure.
> However, i didn't want to collect any money from you as long as you
> have not sign a contract neither have i taken you round my flat. All
> i request of you is to transfer the deposit to your friend or relative
> within the UK through western union , once you've done that, you get
> back to me with a scan copy of the transfer receipt so that i can
> forward it to my lawyer to confirm if the transfer
> After the confirmation might have been made by my lawyer, i will ask
> you to tell your friend to pick up the money and schedule a convenient
> day and time for the viewing. I promise to return the cost of the
> transfer without any deduction.
> Kindly let me know your opinion as soon as possible and if you are not
> comfortable with my lawyer procedure, i suggest that you look for
> another flat in other to avoid time wasting.
> Regards
> Mr/Mrs Rix

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This seems to be a great site which offers Apartment Round Rock really, if you are willing to lug around a washer and dryer for crime, you may as well go ahead and get a real job. Moving appliances is a pretty marketable skill.....

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