Real rent and fake checks.

I have been using Craig’s List for years.

We found a roommate in Breckenridge, Colorado who ended up becoming a dentist. She was great. And, ever since then, I was hooked. I’ve met roommates who then turned into friends (don’t get me wrong, I don’t have 10 cats and I’m not going onto Craig’s List to find friends or anything psycho like that), but I have found paintings for my house, and other odds and ends that go along with Craig’s List.

This month was a game changer.

The ‘Payment Department’ sent me a check.

Wait, back up.

I live in a small town with the only Law School in the State of New Hampshire so my roommates have come and gone through the years, semester, or visas. My latest roommate returned to Portugal after her visa was up. Naturally, I thought that this was a good time to find another roommate.

So, logically, I put an ad on Craig’s List. It was generic and sounded like this:

“Looking for a professional roommate, who can pass a background check, non smoker, no pets. Rent one of the rooms in a two bedroom apartment close to downtown Concord and share the utilities. I am very clean, quiet, and like to have a low keyed living situation. No drama. $650 plus half utilities.”

Photo credit: Contemporary Designs

I mean, how simple is that?

Well. Let me tell you, I got a few responses from two women who were “traveling nurses” that wanted to rent the room. Which, honestly, is pretty common. I live near the Concord Hospital and it would make sense to stay here for a few months. I don’t want a long term commitment on that level by any means.

Back to the scam.

I had two girls respond to me right off the bat. They sent pictures, and looked like “normal” everyday people. Facebook, Twitter, Insta; normal social media platforms that regular people would stalk.

As in, me.

I explained to them that I had multiple offers (truth) and the first person to send me a check could rent the room. Commitment and I are working things out, but for the most part, have come to an agreement, we can make this happen.

Long term commitment sent me a check. 

TD Bank didn’t accept it, direct deposit from my phone didn’t accept it. And then, I knew. I just knew that the fact that she wanted to borrow my sheets for her bed, that she liked to shower before work around 7:15, and, didn’t need a dresser, it was all fake.

And, then I called my mom.

Huge shocker. I talk to her all the time. If she actually used these words, she pretty much thought this was the dumbest thing she had ever heard. I think she literally said “You’re too smart to be this naive.”

Next move. I called a couple of my girlfriends.

I’m lucky they were available. Now, half the month had passed and I still didn’t have a roommate. It was game time. I would call them professional stalkers but that is not encouraged, so I will say that they quickly proved that the check was fake. My roommate was not coming.

It gets better.

LTC (I’ll abbreviate for everyone’s sake). Long Term Commitment asked me very casually to just sign a car for her. (One of my girlfriends in Breck had cars delivered when she needed them, so I thought, whatever lady. Let’s just get this over with).

Next time, hard pass.

Miss. LTC wanted her car to be here when she arrived, ‘to make the transition smoother’.

She sent me a check, with the amount for the car delivery and the amount for the rent. As if this was an every day situation.

But, seriously. Kate, no problem.

I called my favorite guy. Apparently it was all hands on deck for this debacle. Again, shocker. He laughed. Reminded me so kindly; ‘You potentially would have a STOLEN BMW sitting in your driveway that you signed for and you paid for the delivery.’ This is not my kind of fun. Netflix and chill is my kind of fun, no matter what night it is. With pizza.

Lessons learned.

Set up phone calls. Make every single person interested in what you’re selling speak with you. Don’t leave a key under your mat. And, definitely don’t sign for a car. EVER. The Concord Police operator even laughed at me. I mean, after you call your parents, your girlfriends, and main squeeze, apparently the police are the next great idea.

All I could think was, how the hell did I fall for this? Hook.Line.And.Sinker. Everyone told me this was the oldest scam in the book. So, note to self, be smarter than the book. Call your friends and family and don’t try to cash checks. Especially if the routing number starts with a zero.

Remember. Real rent, fake checks.

3 Comments

  1. They are getting so good at this. Recently I’ve been postings items to sell on craigslist, some bicycles, a bicycle trainer, and a few other various small ticket items. Before you could tell right away if the person was a scammer, Hello Madam, Please meet you I, and various other parts of bad English syntax. Now however, its taking 3-4 interactions, and then the, I will send you a check or I have shipper that will come pick up the item. Really? A shipper for a $100 old bike?

    My boyfriend and I ponder what it would be like to be a Craigslist scammer. How are they recruited? Are they given a script? How could your life get to the point you would try and scam people? Glad you caught on and hopefully weren’t charged anything by your bank for trying to deposit a fake check. Also, hope you found a real person to be your roommate!

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