Monday, September 30, 2013

Life - Dishonest

Life - Dishonest

This might be a bit more...true to life than most of my writings.  Anyway Patrick and I have been house hunting for the last month, either for a 2 bedroom place for ourselves or for a house that can enclose us and all our proverbial roommates at the moment, all of us orphans in Vancouver who have no family.



Anyway we've been viewing a lot of places, both together and separately, pursuing a large number of listings to the point where it all gets rather confusing if you can't keep it straight in your head.  We did find in the listings one really interesting, looked very cool condo apartment in Burnaby that we started pursuing.

The price was right, it was in a high rise that we knew of, (I had at least ridden the train by it so I was familiar with the location), so we sent off our usual inquiry about viewings, if the place was taken already (the listing had been up for 3 days), so on and so forth whatnot.  We get an email back a few hours later, that's about par for course. 

We get back:

Hello,
    The apartment located in 2225 Holdom Ave, Burnaby, BC V5B 0A1 is still available. As you can see from the pictures is in excellent condition, very clean and very well kept. Is the first time I'm renting this apartment and I'm trying to find a responsible tenant to take good care of the place. The apartment has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. You can use my furniture if you want and everything from the apartment otherwise you can deposit it in the storage unit that is near the building not far away. Of course I will cover the costs for movers. The apartment rent is 980CAD/month with everything included-all the utilites (heat, hydro, water, electricy, 2 parking spots, laundry in-suite, washer and dryer also included, cable and internet- full package paid for 1 year in advance). You also have full access to all the building amenities (sauna, pool, fitness room, gym, party room, restaur ants, visitor parking). Everything in the apartment is new or renovated so there is no need for repairs but just in case I will cover the costs. 
Note that the apartment is a private property, already paid in full and NO mortgage on it.  The surrounding area is great. Schools and groceries near-by. I'm sure you will have everything that you need there because is one of the most important areas in the city. Pets and children are allowed in the building. Now about me: I'm a structural engineer and I work for MWH Global Engineering, I'm 45 years old, married with 2 children. I worked hard to have a good career and I really respect hard earned money. The company I work for they have projects all around the world so most of my time I'm traveling. The apartment will be available for the next 6 years for sure. I want to rent the place on my own because it's a private property therefore I need to send you the keys and the papers. I'm sure we can find a way for both of us to be satisfied. 
Best regards,
Taylor
I mean it sounds great, he seems very conscientious, there's furniture in the apartment already but if you have too much then put it in the storage unit, amenities, parking, utilities are already included (which should bring this price up almost a hundred, if not two hundred dollars more), the usual information.

Then you look a little closer at the email.  Red flags.  The English has slight problems, "Is the first time I'm renting" (is the first time I attending grammar school too), "laundry in-suite, washer and dryer also included" (wtf is in-suite laundry if not a washer and dryer?).  Followed by thanks for your bio that we never asked for.  We never talk about ourselves in our opening email, even if people ask for it.  It's a waste of time on our end until we even know if a suite/house is still available to tell them about our careers/prospects or if we're good people.  But man, structural engineer who respects hard earned money, 45, 2 kids, married.  Well then.  The note about renting it on his own is also completely unnecessary in BC, anyone can rent anything out, just follow the rules and the paperwork, you don't need to be governed by a rental body either...so that's suspicious.

We send back an email, hey how about a viewing, are there amenable times to you, we are flexible (I'm on my break right now and have days free).

We get back another two paragraphs.

Hello,
 
    Thank you for your reply. As I told you before the rent for 1 month will be 980CAD with no extra fees and you will have full access to all the building amenities. You will pay the same price for the entire rental period. I would like to know how many people will live in the apartment and also what rental contract you prefer (a 6 months rental contract with option to renew it or 1 year rental contract with option to renew it and stay more). 
The monthly payments can be wired to my Bank Account (TD Bank) or we can setup a payment method that is suitable for both of us. The apartment is in excellent condition, you only need to receive the keys and the contract so you can check the place. The apartment is perfect and I am 100% sure that you will keep it. Since I'm in London, United Kingdom obviously we need a safe way to complete this deal. The solution which can be used is to use a wolrdwide third party company called RentReporters (www.rentreporters.com), They will provide assistance in handling the payment and delivery of the rental package. With their RentReporters Safe Exchange service you will be able to check the apartment before I receive the payment. Please be aware that is NOT necessary for you to register with RentReporters Safe Exchange given because I'm a registered user for 4 years and I've made over 30 transactions with them. 
They are really professional and they have great services. 
 
My phone number is +4420 3290 9954 (if you are calling from Canada or United States you need to dial 011-44-20-3290 9954). You can call me or e-mail any time you wish. 
Let me know if you are interested so I can provide with all the steps of this transaction, everything that you need to know about this process before we get this started. I think is right for both of us.
 
 
Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!
Mmmmm yeah no, not wiring anything to anybody, or using some shifty third party "company" to handle the money.  No, when I rent from somebody, my money goes into an envelope, and I hand that envelope to another person with a handshake, that's the way gentlemen do business, not crooks.  Also "I think this is right for both of us?" What is that?  I mean read that as a sentence again from the perspective of a landlord to a prospective tenant.  What.  Really.

Anyway Patrick did a little searching around, and looked into rentreporters, which is kind of a weird site at best.  Anyhow in the process, among the first 10 google hits already comes up is http://www.fraudwatchers.org/forums/showthread.php?t=62708, well would you look at that.  Those emails seem awfully familiar if you ask me.

Under such names as Colin Tuxhorn, Richard Gorman, Ronald Lindo, Michael Brisson, this person is being tracked by the internet since at least June.  Always the same or similar emails, always people flagging it as too good to be true.

So I start pursing through the header data, tracking down the email information.  I send a couple of the usual inquiries to AOL (which by the by, if you are interested is still as awful as it used to be), and slowly this picture starts to come together.

You are going to be curious about why I would bother.  Why not just toss it in the garbage and let it go, scams like this happen all the time, especially as evidenced from above in that website.  We didn't get caught this time, count our lucky stars, blah blah blah whatever.  No.  Why is my sense of indignation up?

Because I HATE this kind of dishonesty.  This kind of dishonesty that outright preys on people when they are dealing with a stressful situation.  This is the sort of garbage, especially as spewed on the internet that is slowly degrading the sense of global trust we have for one another.  It is, in my opinion, literally a cancer on society.  People should be able to trust, being a landlord/tenant should be a fairly compact, concise and very straightforward agreement.  Someone needs a place to live, someone else has space, money changes hands, once a month more money changes hands.  It's not fucking rocket science, you want to negotiate who waters the delilahs then that's an added thing after.  But when people are WILLINGLY, spending their time to intentionally FUCK other people out of their money?

Nope.

That's when my sense of justice starts to come out.

It's simply not acceptable, and I don't like walking away from injustice.  What if someone else is getting caught, I mean if he's still doing it, it must have been profitable at least once right?  That's sort of a logical fallacy, but I would hate myself if I knew and couldn't have helped somehow.

It took me about an hour, left the computer running a few searches and traces.

But I fucking found you.  Eweren Chiwboju.  I don't know if that's the end of the line of false names, but it's the one at the end of the road that stands out.  I don't have the means to pursue this further than forwarding all the relevant information that I have to a number of agencies.  But I found you.

And let me tell you, back in the day when they found con-men, thieves and liars who degraded moral society?  A lot of cultures would've cut off your hands.

Just sayin'