I'm in the market for an apartment on Craigslist, and a person emailed me with a too-good-to-be-true offer for an apartment that I can't visit because he happens to be out of the country. He then told me the following:

I can book my flight ticket down to the country and meet you right inside my flat But of course I need assurance before I do,this is because I don't want to come without assurance and cos someone has wasted my time in the past.

So what you do is,look for a RIA office and transfer the rent and deposit using Ukraine as destination.PLEASE pay attention to this, I do not ask you to transfer it to me.Instead you will make use of any of your friend that you trust as receiver so that you can be sure that your money is still safe and I can't get it until we meet. After the transfer you will send me the scanned receipt as proof. Once I confirm this,then I can book my flight ticket and we meet right inside the flat. So if you are satisfied with everything inside the flat.Then I will give you the keys and we sign the contract on the spot.

After this will go back to RIA office to change receivers name back to my name.But In the case that you don't want to rent it after you saw the apartment,just go back to,cancel the transfer and get your cash back

Obviously I don't plan to engage this guy anymore, he fails the smell test miserably, but I'm kind of curious about how this scam would work. If the money really stays between me and my friend, how does he benefit from this? How can he get my money? (Alternatively, is this legitimate? It is a nice offer...)

  • 1
    If he has the scanned receipt, what is to prevent him trying to collect it/refund it to himself?
    – NPSF3000
    Mar 22, 2018 at 2:48
  • This is a common scam, a simple Internet search should turn up plenty of details.
    – Tom
    Apr 26 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


In the scam, you send the scanned receipt to the bad guy.

The bad guy uses the numbers on the scanned receipt to collect the money. Anyone with those numbers can collect the money, you are meant to keep them secret.

He's gaming the fact that you are unfamiliar with this payment system.

Same deal if I offered to buy your $50 iTunes gift card "if you uncover the numbers and shoot me a pic of them, just to prove good faith". I redeem those numbers and never pay you. The card's now worthless since it's been redeemed.

Same deal if you go to a concert. A guy is inside the fence offering to sell you a printed out lawn ticket for $50. You buy it through the fence. You get to the entry gate and find out the ticket was already used (by him).



The transfer agency told her that the person who collected it had given the money transfer number and shown identification in the correct name.

I believe you receive the money on showing your ID and the receipt, which might have the transaction number. And it isn't much difficult to fake an ID, wherever in the world you are. And for a scammer he might have a workshop churning out fake IDs.

Just play him(her) along and say you will transfer the money to a bank account rather than cash pick up and see how he(she) reacts.

I did face a situation like this and was about to do something silly. But I called the guy's number, he had mentioned he was in Ireland. And for some reason the guy's Irish number wouldn't buzz and only he could call me which made me realize my folly. And I did a google map search of the property's address and realized the rent was very low for a place in Marylebone.

  • I've also heard about variations of this scam where the "seller" has somehow gained access to a real apartment he doesn't actually own. So, it could even go so far as you two flying down there, looking at the place and then transferring the money voluntarily, only to realize later you've been had and the lease you signed is bogus.
    – Steve-O
    Mar 22, 2018 at 14:10

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