Monday, November 3, 2008

The lamest apartment scams I have fallen for

I am kind of naïve and known among my friends for being pretty gullible. I know and own this part of myself. So it's no surprise that I have fallen for (probably) more than my fair share of fake apartment ads. Addresses that don't exist; rents that are too good to be true; spurned lovers listing their partners' apartments. I feel like I have fallen for them all. Here are some of my greatest hits.

You can live in my apartment for 6 months if you'll feed my exotic fish.
I know; I know, just reading the summary is enough to make 99% of people say no fucking way. But during my first NYC apartment search a $1700/mo 2 BR sublet in Union Square sounded awesome. I wasn't afraid to feed a few fish. Whatever. The ad had what looked like legit apartment pics that struck just the right tone between luxurious and not attached to the furnishings. Sure enough though, when I responded to the ad the email I got in return was spam. I ended up having to ditch that email address. Which brings up a good tip -- always use a secondary email address when responding to apartment ads. You never know when some kook is going to find you or vice versa.

Please call me at 6 AM about this apartment before I go on a business trip.
Oh yeah, this was a good one. At the time I was commuting into the city from Connecticut and you bet your ass I was up at 6 AM every day. This ad was for a $1550/mo studio on the UES that included backyard space and a dishwasher -- dishwasher of course meaning WANT. So sure enough I called a little after 6 AM. And I went straight to voicemail, a message which said, "I am sorry to inform you that this is not a real bitch of an ex-girlfriend thought this would be a funny way to get vengeance." I guess a lot of people must have called early.

The apartment is at the corner of Spring & Prince.
This one is another doozy and it actually has a bit of a personal backstory. Back in college 93.3 FM in Denver had an April Fool's Day prank where U2 was playing some 'secret' show in a warehouse on the corner of 2 roads that didn't cross. Ya know, where the streets have no name and all that. Thanks to the intervention of my friend J I didn't fall for it (I told you I am gullible) but two of my friends were definitely driving around trying to figure out where Colfax and Alameda crossed. Except that they don't. Add this to the list of reasons why KCSU is 100 times better.

But back to NYC, Soho is harder to get a bearing on than the grid because everything is a street name. There aren't really avenues. So when I first started my 2nd apartment hunt I fell for a scam where I was told to meet the faux-broker at a corner that wasn't real. "Meet me at the corner of Spring & Prince at 11 AM," he said. Too bad Spring and Prince never cross. I could have just looked at a map before going down but no I thought I was the idiot. I called the faux broker's number and he kept telling me I was only a block or two away. I fell for this twice before finally realizing just how dumb I was. I'm sure the guy and some friends were in a coffee shop laughing at me. Hope they get run over by a parked car.

You can live here rent free if you clean up the apartment for me.
I didn't fall for this one but a friend did. She was looking for a roomie situation and found an ad where some banker dude was offering free rent in exchange for maid services. She actually met with him and found out what was involved -- sorting and doing his laundry, cleaning up after dinner every night, dusting at least 2x a week and passing the white glove test, etc. Bullshit stuff nobody should put up with. Sadly none of that was super off-putting to my friend. What finally drove her to say no was that she was expected to do it all in a French Maid outfit. Quelle horreur! Sadly I think he was serious.

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