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Real Estate Agent with CENTURY-21 CHARLES SMITH

I just listed a property for rent in Sayreville, NJ. As always I post the listing on to various websites including Craigslist.com.  Well, I received an email from someone who saw my post on Craigslist and this is what it said:


Am interested in your property listed for rent on craigslist
is it still available?
What is the available date when the property will be ready to move in
What is the address of the property


So I immediately made contact and told her about the property and that there has been a lot of activity so if she was interested she'd better make a move.

She then responded with this:


In response to the property you have for rent.I will be moving down to the states as my employer (Yorkshire fabrics ltd UK) are about to open a new office in the state.
Am interested in knowing more about the property. Please do give me the following information.
1.A brief description of the property
2. Monthly rent and deposit
3.The address of the property
4.The pictures of the interior of the property
I am willing to sign a year lease, do give me the total move in cost.I will be waiting for your response on this.
Hope to hear from you in earnest.


At this point I gave her a description of the property and sent the listing as I would to any client- in detail client view of course.  She then writes this back:


After Reviewing the details on the Property,
i will like to go ahead with the renting process,
I want you to reserve the place for me.
As for the payment of the deposit and rent totaling $4000
also i will have an interior decorator put up the place for me prior to my arrival.
So do provide the below information for the deposit as i have asked my employer to
Name to issue the check to:............
Phone number(cell and land):............
I want the 12 month lease to start on January 1st 2009, i also want to notify you that due to the fact that i cannot view in person, i have in the mean time arrange with an interior decorator here in England who will be putting up the place for me and also handling the purchase of furniture,entertainment system, miscellaneous appliances that i will be needing in the property, they will as well be in charge of moving down my luggage down to the states.
Due to the time restrictions and days for a UK check to clear in the states, i have requested from my employers to issue my relocation grant in form of a cashiers check, because its easily cashed there in the US.
So a US check of ($9500) will be sent over to you which is the relocation grant by my employer, and all you need to do is to clear the check and deduct the deposit($4000) and you will handle the rest to the Decorators so i can have the place all prepared for my arrival. all other document will be signed as soon as i arrive.
About Me:
My Names are Adelaide Delma
Age: 28 yrs
Non smoker
don't keep pets
Below are some references
Current landlord: Eric Rosenfeld
Address: 81 Waverley Rd
Bexley London, Uk
Email: erosenfeld33@gmail.com
Supervisor: Richard Webber
Address: 26 Austin Close
Thamesmead London
SE26 0DH
Tel : 01904282087
Email: r65webber@yahoo.co.uk
I look forward to your response
Thank You


Now, I immediately have a cause for alarm.  There is no way I am going to give her my clients information without having something in writing.  First, I write back to her saying that I need to see a credit report and also get employment verification. I then contacted the people she listed as references- neither of them responded via email or by phone. And then she never responded back to my email.


I contacted the company that she said she worked for in England... the company exists but they have no idea who Adelaide Delma is.  I alerted them to the fact that I think someone is using their company's name as a part of a scam.  I then typed in the name Adelaide Delma on Google and I found a few posts from other people warning about this person and that this might be a part of some type of SCAM!

They say the scam works something like this- the scammer takes on the persona of the landlord, relists the property with all of YOUR listings pics, but they put a lower than average price.... some unsuspecting renter sees a deal too good to pass up, they ride by your listing and see that there is  a FOR RENT sign out front, they get into contact with them via email, send them money to secure it, and then the renter has nothing to show for it. 

If you have any rental properties I think you might want to type in the addresses into some popular search engines and make sure no one is using your listing information to scam someone else out of some deposit money.


Plesae check and make sure your listings are not listed by some scammer!

Comments (16)

Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com

I have heard of this before.  But I don't think it is happening here in Metro Detroit area.  Too low of rents

Dec 19, 2008 12:00 PM
Angelia Garcia
Pure Realtors - Dallas, TX

What will they come up with next? I have never encountered so many scams until now.  What is wrong with those people? When will it stop?

Dec 19, 2008 12:11 PM
Maggie Baumbach
Search Homes for Sale in Maryland at HelpShop.com - Reisterstown, MD

Thanks for the heads up. There is a special place in the hot zone for these types of scammers. And those poor tenant who have a hard enough time getting together the real deposit and first month's rent.  That is a good idea about double checking your listing addresses.

Dec 19, 2008 12:18 PM
Marian Gregor-Ann
Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Arbor area Real Estate

Hi Ryan, I ran into this type of scam 2 years ago when I had a horse for sale advertised on the net. The scanm (is usually) offer the poor sucker a 'cashiers' check for more than the amount, purchase price plus (in my case) shipping the horse. You have to Be Careful w/ anything advertised over the net, especially Craig's List.

Dec 19, 2008 12:27 PM
Steven Wright
Home Real Estate - Aurora, CO
CRS - Home Real Estate - 720-989-5283

It is scum like this person trying to scam that puts everyone on edge. It is like we are going to have to become detectives part time in order to protect our clients interest. I hope this person gets caught and flogged.

Dec 19, 2008 12:32 PM
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

Someone got all of my info, and I think I need to set up Google alerts---oh that probably wouldn't work for this, would it?  Hmmm...one of my Sellers put her property on Craig's list with my info---to also purchase or rent...I got A LOT of these letters. I forwarded them to the Bureau of Communications Bureau---as a compalaint..

Dec 19, 2008 12:42 PM
Richard Stephan
TonyDavidsHomes.com LLC - Celebration, FL

To me this sounds more like the typical Western Union Scam. You were supposed to receive a 9500US$ Western Union Check, clear it and transfer 5500U$ to the so called "Decorator". Then when the 5500 US$ is off your account the Western Union Check would have bounced without a chance to recover it and you would have lost the 5.500US$. This scam it pretty common on Craigs List for all kind of postings. In any case, well done for not falling for this scam!

Dec 19, 2008 12:47 PM
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Thanks for the heads up Ryan. Haven't seen it here but we always need to keep our guards up.

Dec 19, 2008 01:18 PM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

This indeed looks like a scam and we would say run away and do not deal with the situation. All the best.

Dec 19, 2008 03:10 PM
Gary McNinch
Better Properties Real Estate - Renton, WA
Broker, Renton WA Real Estate


This is an old craigslist scam...  cl has an area to check about scams...   I sold a car last year on cl and got the same type of scam.  Came from overseas IP. 

List and Sell (buyer and seller beware)   Merry Christmas    Gary@ RentonHomeFinder.com

Dec 19, 2008 03:16 PM
Philip Rosenberg

I have been managing propeties in the Phoenix East Valley for 10 years and I do post on Craig's list with some success.  If I had a NICKEL for everytime I get these jerk's response, I'd retire.  Fortunately, they back off as soon as you show you are on to them, but anymore we simply ignore them. 




Philip Rosenberg


ValleyWide Property Services



Dec 20, 2008 11:40 AM
Josh Lutz
American Premier Property Inspection, LLC - Phoenix, AZ

I had a very similar message on a house I was renting in Phoenix.  Pegged it as a scam right away.  If the email sounds too formal and isn't specific to the property then it's probably a scam.

Jan 15, 2009 07:31 AM

I am a private owner, and I just received the same e-mails, WORD for WORD, for a rental listing in the SF Bay area.  It seemed a little fishy, and they used another company name which I couldn't find on-line.  Though it seemed suspicious, I wasn't sure what scam they could pull of with such seemingly benign info (no secure data on myself), and I almost wrote back with the info.  So glad I didn't!  I kept searching different ways, and I found your post.  Now I know what the scam is.  Thanks so much for your post.

Nov 01, 2009 04:53 AM

We got the EXACT same email (nearly verbatim) from a "Krystal Sparkman" claiming to be with a trading company in the UK.  Seemed fishy from the get go. Glad we found this info, so we know people are aware of the scam.

Jul 19, 2010 05:54 AM

In regards to the above post - our rental property was in the Seattle, WA area. 

Jul 19, 2010 06:01 AM
John Sandstrom

I am glad I did the Google search and found your post.  Krystal Sparkman is alive and well in Redmond, WA.  I kow it did not feel right and now know it was not.  Thanks for the posting. 

Jul 23, 2010 05:47 AM