How can you tell when you are being scammed?

Hello again everyone. Today is Friday! the glorious weekend is finally in sight once again. TGIF everyone! Today I am going to talk about my experience with what I believe to be a scammer trying to scam me out of 500 euros. Let me explain.

Earlier last week while I was trying to browse the internet for potential places to live because when I return to the Netherlands I intend to move into a new place as soon as possible and before I return I must already have found a place. And the only thing I would need to worry about is moving my stuff over to the new place. Anyway, I was searching everywhere I could think of in order to find a place such as the Dutch sites Kamernet.com, Kamerstunt.com etc. I also even used the many Facebook housing groups for students (that I am signed up to used) that advertise new vacant rooms and apartments all around The Hague (the city that I am currently living in).

scamming

Anyway, I came across an advertisement with no picture talking about an apartment that was being rented out for 400 euros. I found it somewhat interesting and so, like the many other persons looking for rooms, I replied to the advertisement and after about a day or so she replied to me by a private message saying if I was still interested in the room because there are others who want the same room and if I wanted to get it I must act quickly by making a down payment with the deposit so she could hold it for me for when I return. So I was like, ‘okay, I really need a room’. I asked if it would be possible to get someone to check out the room for me just to see what she would say and she said it was fine. She told me that the rent was for 400 euros and the deposit was for 500 euros. That was the first time I ever saw a deposit that was more than the rent. Almost every place I have moved to (And I have moved quite a lot to be honest) the deposit was always the same price as the rent. That seemed a little weird to me. I told her that I would pay her when I get my Study Financing money which was a week from then and she said it was alright.

Anyway, I was still a little suspicious but tried to brush it off. After all, many individuals on the Facebook housing groups have posted advertisements of vacant rooms, studios and apartments without any pictures accompanying it on many occasions, from what I saw. So, she told me that she would make up a contract and send it to me. The contract seemed legit, at least to me, but I was still having a hard time fully believing her. I had somewhat of a bad feeling about it in the pit of my stomach. The only thing that kept coming into my mind at that time was something I heard from someone or read somewhere. I cannot exactly remember where I heard or saw it from, but it was about a person who went through all of the process it takes to rent an acquire an apartment, even got the key and signed the contract, just to find out later that he was scammed. The day of when the person was supposed to move in they went into the house to find out that the house he wanted to move into already had a family that owned it. The family were probably away during the time he saw the place he wanted but they were there at then. The whole process and contract signing and giving of the key was all part of the scam.

This incident continued popping into my mind all of the time and I did not want that kind of thing happening to me as well. I usually always listen to my gut feeling because in most cases it is usually right. I experienced this same feeling last year when I was thinking of travelling to Japan for my internship at the time and the person who helped me ‘find’ an internship and would help with accommodations later on, according to him, was asking me to pay him 1000 dollars. In the end I did not go because of this same strong suspicious feeling I experienced.

scams

So, I tried asking two classmates of mine to take a look at the house for me while I was not in the Netherlands but they were not able to do so for their own personal reasons. The closer I got to the date of when I had to pay the 500 euros the more stronger this foreboding feeling came. I had already signed the contract and saw her signature although I am not sure if I would even really call it a signature. She then sent me her account details and I noticed that the account was in Ireland. I questioned her about it by asking if she lived in Ireland and if that was the reason why she had an Ireland bank account. She said she lived in Ireland before so that is why she had a bank account in Ireland. She goes on to say that despite the account being in Ireland, she believes it can take Euros. I did not believe her excuse because by that time an alarm in my head was already sounding off a little.

Later, I tried to Google her name and I did not get any results on her. I thought if she had a Facebook account chances were that she might also have other social media accounts. But I got nothing. Not ever her Facebook profile. Later I tried taking a look at her Facebook profile and all I found was one picture which I have no doubts does not belong to her and in the information box it had very little information which said she liven in Slovenka Bistrica. That sounded another alarm in my head as well. So why would a woman who is renting a out a room in the Netherlands information say she lives in Slovenka? That just seemed fishy. Also this person did not have any Facebook friends and her profile did not even have the friend request button that every person has on their profile when you are not friends. Also I saw that she was signed up to several Facebook groups for renting houses and apartments from various countries but most of the groups she was signed up to were within the Netherlands but for different Dutch cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag etc. So I messaged her and told her my suspicions and concerns. She never replied to my message although saw that she did see the message at around 10 this morning. It has been hours since then. I am just wondering how many other unknowing students desperately looking for a room has she already scammed.

So my question is this: was I just being too paranoid about the situation or did you think it seemed fishy as well?

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Author: Angie's Inspiration

My name is Angie Ignacio, I currently live in The Netherlands but I am originally from a very small five (5) square mile island in the Dutch Caribbean called Saba. I enjoy learning new things, meeting new people, dancing, singing, watching anime and reading manga comics. I also enjoy listening to Asian (Japanese, Korean and sometimes Chinese) music. I am trying to learn the Japanese language since I am such a big fan of Japan. I am also a published author of two books a poetry book called I'm Only Human and children's picture book called Baby Toucan.

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