It was late may, and I was striking out nicely on a couple of life’s rewards in a short period of time (new job, I found a cheap place to live in Toronto for the month), so it was only fitting that I had found the perfect 1 bedroom apartment for July after a quick search on Craigslist. I foolishly thought my brewed dose of Felix Felicis was still full.
Within five minutes of scrolling through Craigslist ads, I stumbled upon a furnished all-inclusive condo for $1100 in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Check out the sketchy ad that lured me in like a jig on a fishing line.
Red flag number one: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
In my defense, I was completely ignorant on the apartment hunting process, I hardly knew the standard procedure for signing a lease, and I usually don’t assume everyone is trying to scam me (unless I’m in Argentina). So, I sent a casual inquiry hoping to get some more details on this heavenly-priced place.
His response was immediate and… interesting. Other than his signature, phone number, and email address invisible to a muggle’s eye, this seemed totally legit!
He didn’t really answer any real property questions and talked way too much about his personal life to me, a complete stranger. So he had kids, fine, but wasn’t this a one bedroom apartment I was looking at? Since he was in “United State” on missionary work with his wife, he conveniently left so suddenly he had no time to hire a realtor or superintendent who I could have contacted. He also seemed anal retentive about cleanliness.
After the first email, my hopes of this deal being legitimate quickly diminished, but I decided to play his game to see how far he would take our conversation, and when he would ask me to send him my hard-earned money in the mail. I typed up an A+ response about who I was, and why I would be the perfect, clean tenant. I started off praising his goodwill:
I really wanted to jab that knife deep into his thin conscience, you know?
We did it! After an exchange of literally two emails each, we’ve earned his trust as tenants!
He sent over a CAPS LOCKED informal “application” that meant nothing, and just as I expected, he mentioned payment before I’d even step foot in the complex. Oh, and look at that, he added his ghost phone number that he called me from twice at 2 am while I was sleeping. I was too freaked out to call it back, to be honest. He didn’t even leave a voicemail.
Really, his name was Guillermo? Hablas Español, entonces, flaco? It didn’t have to do with the fact that I told him my boyfriend was Argentinian, did it? And can we talk about that vague “son” of his, John? How original. I thought he said he had kid(s) though?
I was slowly growing weary of his games, and angry at his poorly-thought-out lies and deceit. Did people actually fall for this scam? Probably.
I pried him for some final details while masking my fuming rage with gullible happiness:
In a polite manner with hinting undertones of frustration (see underlined last sentence), I ask “Guillermo” if I could see the place I would be sending money to California for, and where the heck was the tenancy agreement ie. lease?
Good text replied and continued to be messy with his responses. It was clear that English was not his first language, but I’m guessing Spanish wasn’t either. His fraudulent fear of “getting involved with some sort of hoax” at his fragile middle-age is simply ironic, considering he was the con man all along.
I decided to finally flush the toilet of bullshit, and reported the property listing on Craigslist, and then sent him a big ADIOS, La re concha de su madre. I can write that because google can’t translate poetic Argentinian obscenities.
Surprise, he never got back to me.
The real question is: What possessed me to look for apartments on CRAIGSLIST? I was just asking to get scammed. I’m just going to file this story under the “Learning Experiences Never To Be Repeated”tab.
I hope I’ve saved you some time and added a grain of salt for your own searches, and remember friends, if they say they are missionaries that recently relocated out of the country, run!!!