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Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
01-05-2011, 11:28 PM
Post: #1
Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
One of the first lessons I had learned while doing research to move here was the scams involving Craigslist ads for rental properties and shipping vehicles from the mainland.
This is what I had discovered and please take mental notes of these things. I had been shopping for through craigslist for a home or condo to rent in the short or long term and I ran across some really good ads and since I had no clue on what my total cost was going to be, I had a budget in mind and was looking for six months or better. I was willing to pay six months in advance to insure a smooth move and what I had uncovered was a total shocker.
I would answer these ads with interest,of course and reply. This lead me to emai conversations on terms. The very first one was a guy who claimed that he was an engineer for BP Oil and that the reason he was renting his place was because his company transferred him to West Africa for three years as a contractor and that the money was good enough to leave his paradise for a few years. West Africa was the first red flag. Second red flag came in a form of an application that didn't ask for a social security number nor current employer or income levels. Third was that he said that he only wanted to rent to someone who could take good care of his place and keep it clean.The next one was that he had an attorney that could mail me all the documents and the keys since he had already left for his new job. So was it a transfer or a new job? The final and most important red flag was that he wanted me to send hem only three months rent plus deposit and that he wanted me to go to my local Western Union and thayt would be my receipt for the rental payment. Then mail that to his attorney and he would mail me back the documents and keys. Now this sounded a bit odd but ok. My wife then said that we have a few days and to do my homework. That was another red flag from my own playbook.
This is what I had found. I googled and Zillowed the address and found that this place was recently sold and that neither seller nor buyer had the same name as the person in my emails. I also discovered that the photos of the place were those of the listing agents ads but of poorer quailty. I am explaining it this way so that you can do your own investigative work yourself. In one of the emails,he had mentioned the country of Nigeria. Google Nigeria and I was blown away about the scams that where coming from this country.
Then I ran his name also and found that many people had been scammed by this same man and I forward all of my emails from him to the Yahoo Investigative Unit and found that this guy was also wanted by Interpol for these scams and more. I was asked to play along and string him along where they traced him to a internet cafe in Nigeria and was arrested. Great,one more bad guy off the streets,right? Wrong! About 60% of the ads I answered were just the same. Transfer jobs,contractor jobs and ministry volunteer work in Nigeria and so on. Some of them just the same and some with interesting twists.
The most clever one was about a professor at the University of Oregon or Washington,I don't recall.. She really did once own a nice two bedroom condo in Waikiki but had sold it to another professor from the University of Hawaii,who then rented it out every once in a while.
They had found her original listing from a few years ago and said that she was going to take a tenure at the University of Oregon. They then went to that university's website and got all of her information there. I was so tired of these scams that I called her office there and left a message on a Thursday and she didn't call me back until the following Tuesday but yet the emails continued back and forth all weekend. In one of my emails to them,I had stated that I left my home phone number at her office and that I would love to talk to her personally over the phone due to the number of scams I had been running into with craigslist. I didn't get any reply on Sunday but I did get one on Monday and these guys were good. They said that we could do the whole transfer through ebay and that they had a 100% raring of satifaction and that ebay had a escrow unit for large ticket items. I was able to verify this account number with ebay the same day.
If you open a new account in those days,I believe you automatically got the 100% rating until there was a complaint. By that time,it was too late in the day and I was going to take care of it on Tuesday morning. Lucky for me,this professor called me and I had to explain to her why I had called and what was going on. It was then that I found out that she had sold that condo two years earlier and never had an account with ebay. She had asked me to forward all of these emails to her right away. Somehow,the FBI got involved and found the ebay account was open from an anonymous IP address for both Yahoo and ebay and that both were closed on the same Tuesday. The FBI said that this was something new but not unheard of. I got lucky I guess and one simple phone call had saved me thousands of dollars on what looked like a sure thing.
This post is getting to long and I can always add to it later. I am more than willing to answer anyone's questions here but the bottom line is this,if it sounds too good to be true,it probably isn't true.
Saigontodd Find all posts by this user
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01-06-2011, 03:26 AM
Post: #2
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
Good thing to know buddy. Thanks for the warning.
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01-06-2011, 08:15 PM
Post: #3
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
Thank you for this warning. Even though craigslist is a very useful source it can be dangerous as well, and this what happened to you proves it. I hope people who plan to move to Hawaii or use craigslist for whatever reason will read this post and will not become a victim of one the many scammers out there. Basically everything that looks too good to be true or too easy should make one's alarm bells ring.
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01-06-2011, 09:42 PM
Post: #4
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
I want to revisit this thread and let everyone know how I got here in one piece without getting burned. Since I have moved here,I have come to learn that many peoiple have gotten burned by these scams.
There was this family about two years ago that was burned badly and I will tell that it wasn't easy for the family that owned the home either. A contractor took a job offer over here in Pearl Harbor as I recall. Got scammed the same as above. The guy told him that he Top Lock or some company like that to change the locks on the house since he was overseas still(in Nigeria,of course) and could credit them on their fourth month rentsince they sent a deposit and three months rent by Western Union.
All of their stuff arrived from the east coast by container and they were asked to sell or give away the old furiture that was still in the house. Some of it went to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Two months goes by and that family is all settled in and enjoying life when the real owners came home from a European vacation to find someone else living in their home.
Of course the police were called and they couldn't do anything because the real owners couldn't prove it was their home because everything was gone. It took almost two months for everyone to figure out what happen but the damage was done.
I am not trying to scare you into not moving to Hawaii but to check everything out and most of all,do your homework. Moving here can be an experience of a lifetime and it's up to you to make sure that it goes smoothly. No matter how you do it,it is well worth it.
Saigontodd Find all posts by this user
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01-07-2011, 07:36 PM
Post: #5
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
Ok, I want to cover shipping vehicles and aircraft here to Honolulu from the mainland. I shipped from the Port of Los Angeles and it went very smooth and easy. I had googled "shipping cars to Hawaii" and I discovered many companies that do that and forums about the subject too. I read about certain companies to avoid also. About proplr paying the money and no one shows up to pick it up and I was ok,thanks for the warnings and I wrote down the names of the companies to avoid. Also FYI,craigslist has warnings on their website about contracting with any shipping company that posts on their site and I just avoided them all together and I advise the same.
I choose a bidding process instead of calling each company one by one. It was very easy that way. Just enter the zip codes for pick up and where it was to be delivered and the vehicle info.
There was like eight bids that came back and three of the companies to avoid were the cheapest and too good to be true again. The fourth one was called Suncoast Tranportation out of Fort Lauderdale,Florida.
I then went to the BBB website to checked them out and they only had one complaint and the companies response was that the customer provide a less than detailed address and the driver was forced into guessing which address to go to for pick up and it was picked up late. I said Ok, I can certainly understand that one.
I called them a few times to ask questions and found out that Matson would be using their ships to ship my vehicles anyway and the did bid about $200 more than Suncoast. So,I said what the hay, I'll call Matson myself. They said a lot of positive things about Suncoast and I gave my credit card info to Suncoast the next day and they emailed me the paperwork for me to sign and fax back. It was flawless from beginning to end. It took like almost three weeks to get here and even got a free carwash coupon for a choice of three local carwashes here. Again,I had done my homework and things went smooth. I hope everyone has a good of luck as I did and if you make the move,welcome to Hawaii.
Saigontodd Find all posts by this user
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10-20-2011, 08:10 AM
Post: #6
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
It's a shame that people have to make Hawaii so ugly like that I'm from here and came across the same thing while I was looking for a condo to rent the guy from Nigeria gave me a address pics and all kinds of BS information so with the address I went to the house and knocked on the door mind you he said to not bother the tenants there that they will be moving out on the 1st this is the end of the month I went by the house knocked non the door and asked them if they were moving to my surprise he tells me what are you talking about I own this place so I show him the ad with his address on the paper that i printed out and left it with him so he can complain also I emailed this person back and I just told him that he is full of crap and one day he is gonna get caught I told him never to ever write me again never heard from him again, you can pretty much tell the price is too low for such a nice place and they offer too many things like until include fully furnished blah blah blah. Wow I cannot believe these people The things they do.
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10-21-2011, 06:25 PM
Post: #7
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
Quite a story! Thanks for sharing it. It is good that you found out before you got sucked in.
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10-27-2011, 07:48 PM
Post: #8
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
Shy..though by no means do I wish to diminish past experiences of those who posted threads, but simply reading them makes me conclude that those who posted such are especially susseptible/even gullible to matters that can -and will- happen anywhere.... NOT only in Hawaii.
I too am a MAILIHINI who now permanently resides in Kona but arrived essentially on a dime -not knowing anything.and yet, I did NOT have single poor/bad experience, purchasing a new home, the drawn out process of finding a car, furnishings and hauling them, in fact I relied purely on gut-feeling-drove to Konaha'a on a Craigslist ad and commited to buy some living-room furniture that I could not even transport back to Kona. I paid $ 100.00 cash down without asking for a receiptand was promised the husband would deliver with a truck. Needless to say it went down like clockwork!! same goes for 'used' car, turned out to be the deal of the century. the salesman even went to DMV and registed it for me. Being of course a people person, I can smell a rat, therefore have never been taken .. and I'm 67 years-old.
Horror-stories as found on this forum may scare, however.... buyer beware must be applied everywhere. I give myentire Hawaii experience, incl. Craigslist a 100 % OK...
Karl Lechten. Kailua-Kona, HI aka karlofgermany (Google)
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10-28-2011, 03:27 PM
Post: #9
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
Thanks for sharing your experiences. For the number of transactions on Craigs List, there are probably a limited number that are poor experiences. The same could be said for purchases on eBay. You are correct that "buyer beware" is a good plan.
Here on the mainland, the CL reputation has a tag that people (thieves) use the item for sale as an excuse to get into your home, learn a little about the times that you would not be home, then come back and clean the house out.
I don't sell or buy anything on CL but that is just my preference.
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10-30-2011, 11:29 AM (This post was last modified: 10-30-2011 05:11 PM by kaniamea.)
Post: #10
RE: Beware of Craigslist Ads for Hawaii
I agree that bad things (including scams on craigslist) happen everywhere and are not unique to Hawaii. But this is what this forum is for. It's for people to share their experiences, good and bad. I myself have had good experiences with craigslist as well as bad. Some people come to Hawaii (future residents as well as visitors) and they think Hawaii is paradise and nothing bad ever happens in paradise. They have this vision of heavenly, cozy islands where life is always easy-going and laid-back. But like every place in the world, there are some bad apples or challenges everywhere. So sharing real experiences, good and bad, is helpful and ultimately it's up to you to trust your intuition.
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