Craigslist scam alert- ad for $400 place "near 46 st. with Baltimore Av". University City - targeted to students.
Cross-posted to West Philly forum.
Just a little FYI because, for all the detail in this ad, I could see a student falling for this (okay, *I*, well past student age, inquired after this initially. I think it was late at night - my judgement was obviously off). To any students out there who are looking for an apartment in University City, I'm not saying to be afraid of responding to ads on Craigslist. But if something sounds fishy, just do some digging, and it's usually easy enough to figure out that an ad is a scam (even if it initially seems legit).
The thing is, when I got a reply, the apartment was suddenly on the 4000 block of Baltimore Ave., nowhere near 46th or Farragut. The "owner" wrote a very Nigerian-scam-sounding reply (the word "blessed" comes up a lot) with a convoluted story about the house being "formally owned by family" until they had to go for Chicago for pastoral duties, where they're having "so much fun" that they decided to stay a while. A quick check of the specific address he gave showed that this apartment building is owned by a large, well-known, and very professional apartment management company. Oh, and he emphasized several times that an application would need to be filled out before I could even see the place. I.E. they just want your personal info.
I should add, for those just starting an apartment search in West Philly, that just because an ad is poorly written doesn't mean it's a scam. There are a lot of home-owning immigrants in West Philadelphia who are perfectly good landlords, but English is not their first language. However, unfortunately, scam ads and emails are often written in a similar fashion. Just do your homework, and you'll be fine, but I don't mean to imply that an oddly written ad is always going to be a scam. If the info given in the response email contradicts the info given in the ad, it's probably a scam. If the apartment "owner" is pressing for an application to be filled out before any further steps are taken in the rental process, it's a scam.
Here is the link to the ad (which may disappear shortly):
✔✔fantastic economical housing University City
The ad reads thus (and it was different when I replied - much less info, nothing about being student housing. But definitely the same one I replied to. He must have beefed it up later. I'm going with "he" based on the gender of the fictional pastor who wrote me back, but who knows):
"$400 / 90ft² - ✔✔fantastic economical housing University City (Near 46 St with Baltimore Av.)"
"Hi, Are you studying in Philly and desperately looking for a nice housing at affordable price? this is the opportunity you are waiting for, but take action quickly.
Located at just 5 blocks to the north from U of Sciences, 8 blocks to the west of UPenn Medical Center, VA Medical Center and The UPenn Veterinary Hospital, 9 Blocks from the UPenn Main campus, 10 Blocks to the west of the Science Center Campus and 12 blocks from Drexel U Campus.
Now, we are also very close to the westbound shuttle bus stops of UPenn and Drexel, just 1 to 3 minutes walking.
This is really walking distance , about 10 minutes to U Sciences, 20 minutes to UPenn and 30 minutes walk to Drexel U. Half of those times if you are riding bike, with also 2 Trolley lines of public transportation arriving practically infront of the property ( 34 and 13).
We are offering excellent rooms for lease for this summer and fall semesters of 2012 to U Sciences, Drexel U, Science Center or UPenn students , located at one of the most strategic intersections of University city, in Baltimore Av with Farragut st and 46 st., This is in an apartment of 510 square feet area.
Check how affordable are the prices we van offer you :
$300 monthly for private bedroom plus shared bills ( electricity, gas, heating system, water), this for a share housing with one person.
Conditions: To move in it is required to show income to pay housing expenses of at least $700 plus bills, that is the minimum rate if you dont have
roommate. At present there are two Drexel University students already living in the apartment with continuity assured until at least summer of 2013.
one month of security deposit, apart of the first month of lease are required to pay at the time to sign lease.
The rooms share ample bathroom, kitchen, living-dinning room and steam heating system.
This is a very secure sector to live in, there is permanent surveillance of the University city police during all the night. Two Laundries are located at 5 mts distant of the property, and a lot of restaurants practically infront, we are 4 blocks distant of the Philadelphia Public Health center of Clarck Park, two blocks from a Gas station and 4 from a Police station and a huge supermarket, close to many small shops. "
Last edited by HallieLou; 02-03-2013 at 01:18 PM.