Dammit Mudah, scammers again! I’m looking for a new place to rent and of course I’m on Mudah.my. I found this almost too-good-to-be-true apartment for rent in Marina Court.
And you know what they say about things that look like they’re too good to be true.
So, here’s the ad. Fantastic deal for Marina Court, which is right smack in the middle of town. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Yes, yes it would be.
So I clicked on the ad, which only made me more excited, because it looks like what could be the interior of an actual Marina Court apartment.
Typical local furnishing choices, the bedrooms – in hindsight – seemed not quite of the same construction or decoration style, but hey, for RM1,500 a month, it’s awesome.
A little closer inspection revealed a major flaw though: no phone number.
But ok, rationalised my eager mind, perhaps the owner listed it and they might not be too savvy, or perhaps concerned for privacy, and therefore didn’t want to list their phone number.
So I clicked on the link to contact Gloria. About an hour later I got this reply:
Victor, who claims is a retired engineer, proceeds to outline the most wonderful deal ever. He moved to the UK a few months ago to take care of his nephew, wants a trust worthy tenant (ME!) to take over the apartment.
He only wants RM1,500 per month, just RM1,500 as a deposit and will include water, electricity, cable (never mind that you don’t get cable here, only satellite), internet, 2 parking spaces (TWO!!) and furniture which includes a washer, a dryer, a dishwasher and an oven and a stove. He’s like f’ing Santa Clause and if you know property deals here in Kota Kinabalu, you will know what an outrageously good deal this is.
But wait, there’s more! He has storage if I don’t like his stuff AND I can have pets. And an agent has the keys and signed contract ready and waiting just for me. Fan-effing-tastic! All I have to do is just tell him a little bit more about myself. Easy peasy.
Let’s pause for a moment while I show you a Google Ads. Gotta pay the bills…
Where were we? Right, so there I was, overjoyed, but being the suspicious person I am, I first pondered a few fishy things.
First of all, he didn’t mention poor Gloria at all. Gloria, who is obviously neither the owner nor the agent, has a funny email address. Her email address is email@example.com – weird domain, especially for Kota Kinabalu. But nevermind.
Victor’s email address is also only just a little fishy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok, nevermind that it’s Hotmail – older people still use it, not just scammers. But it’s a bit of a weird spelling of Denningg – most commonly spelled with 1 g, but that’s also not concrete evidence of anything. That 2 at the end sets off more alarms, but I ignored all that in lieu of this awesome deal.
So I replied with a few personal details, most of which are already littered about on the Internet (notably this blog). It took me 20 minutes to craft the perfect email and polish it to sound just right. It’s an interview after all, to illustrate what a model tenant I am.
No sooner did I click send, however, when this email comes back. So either Victor is clairvoyant and knew what I was typing before I sent it, or it’s an automated reply with SCAM written all over it.
In the course of one email we progressed to a short-name basis, so Vic outlines how happy he is that I’m keen on his apartment.
From here on out it reads almost exactly like that time I got similar emails when I tried to sell my car, also on Mudah.
Read the whole email, but the short of it is Vic wants my full name and address and then he will give me the details of an iProperty.my agent (not Mudah? Running the scam in many places, are we?) to whom I can pay the money for his Marina Court apartment. A secure account of an agent, of course, where it will be kept safe until he can courier the keys.
Aaaaaand, if after 2 days of inspecting the apartment I decide it’s not for me, he will refund me the money. Yes he will, he said so right there in that email. Clearly a standup guy, this Vic.
Vic ends off the email by thanking me for the nice cooperation. I bet he’s already rubbing his hands in anticipation of receiving a blind deposit. I replied to his email, unfortunately saying “Dammit, don’t scam people, Vic”, so perhaps he won’t reply to that.
Oh well, back to the drawing board.