Again, the Craigslist posting looked normal and had photos. I think I'm going to stay away from postings without phone numbers from now on!
CL text read: "Two Bedroom back apartment. Rent is $450/mo. utilities are included. A cash security deposit of $300 is required. Nice backyard with driveway. appliances are included". The address given was 27 Bloomingdale St, Rochester, NY 14621.
The email contact was firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the email I got from him. I emailed him back asking a few basic questions, and all he did was send me the rental application again.
UPDATE: I got a little curious, so I looked up the property owner in the county's property database. Looks like this David Mankowski did own the home (for about 20 days in 2009), then sold it to someone else. Very weird!
ANOTHER UPDATE: According to a Google search, the home was once rented by a seemingly legit property management company. It's not on their current list of vacant properties. I emailed them to see if they knew what the deal was.
One of our papers, the Mansfield News Journal, did an article about a very similar scam.
Text of his email:
Thanks for your email.. The house is still available. I decided to rent the house because we are going to spend more time here in West Africa , about 5 years.. Let me start by introducing myself. I must confess that I am very new in this landlord business.. However, My name is David Mankowski . I and wie own the house located at (27 Bloomingdale St, Rochester, NY 14621).Due to my job as a civil engineer, I works for a German company called JULIUS BERGER CONSTRUCTION CO., and now i have been transfer to West Africa to work in a branch in West Africa.I spent less time in the States so I could not get a hold on any Realtor to handle this rent issue, although it was when I knew how long we are going to stay in Africa that I decided to rent out the house. However,the initial plan was to sale out the House. which I tried, but sometimes the agents inflates the prize and it takes longer to sell.The house include the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace , Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set,Refrigerator,Canopied deck overlooking nature.,internet access e.t.c. because of this reason and more we need a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money , but want it to be clean and for you to take it as if it were yours.
The rent is: $400
Security Deposit: $300
For this 2 BR/2.BA.
Pet are also Welcome.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
RENT APPLICATION FORM
MIDDLE NAME: _________________
LAST NAME: __________________
PHONE (____) __________
(CELL)PHONE (____) __________
(WORK)PHONE (____) __________
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
ZIP CODE: ____________
HOW LONG? ___________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING? IF THIS APARTMENT IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________
IF YOU HAVE A PET,
NAME OF PET: _____________
KIND OF PETS: _____________
DO YOU SMOKE? ______________
DO YOU DRINK? ______________
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT? ____
.............................. .............................. .............................. ..........
TAKE NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY DRIVE BY AND SEE MY HOUSE FROM THE OUTSIDE AND IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RENTING GET THE APPLICATION FORM FILLED OUT AND SEND IT BACK TO ME.