According to the police, on August 16th, 2014, a 36-year-old man was looking for an apartment to rent on Craigslist when he came across the suspect. The next day, police say that the suspect showed the victim an apartment at 178 Ludlow Street.
The victim gave the suspect $4,400 for the apartment, but when he tried to move in, "he discovered that the apartment was occupied by another tenant and the suspect was not the apartment owner or a representative of the owner."
Here's video of the faker:
One tell-tale sign of a scam is when a "rental agent" demands that money be wired or give as a cash deposit—and they can't give you keys to the apartment. From the FTC:
They tell you to wire money
This is the surest sign of a scam. There’s never a good reason to wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, first month’s rent, or vacation rental fee. That’s true even if they send you a contract first. Wiring money is the same as sending cash — once you send it, you have no way to get it back.
They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease
It’s never a good idea to send money to someone you’ve never met in person for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it’s for rent, and that it is what was advertised. In addition to setting up a meeting, do a search on the owner and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, that’s a clue it may be a scam.
They say they’re out of the country
But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or an “agent” working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. Don’t send money to them overseas. If you can’t meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking. What if the rental itself is overseas? Paying with a credit card, by PayPal, or through a reputable vacation rental website with its own payment system are your safest bets.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the