Posted by: englishdubai | February 17, 2010

If something sounds too good to be true..


If there is one thing that spurs me into action is when people try to rip me or someone I know off. This probably explains why I am addicted to a british TV show called “The Real Hustle” and one of my favourite movies is The Grifters.

I was enquiring about a nice looking vehicle the other day on Dubizzle that seemed remarkable value. The response I got was interesting:

“Hello,

I bought this car 2009 Cayenne S while I was working in Dubai, now I’m back to England to my family and I want to sell it. The car is registered in Dubai. The car is in perfect condition and has never been involved in an accident. Painting is a very good condition, there is no collision damage present on this car. The car is in excellent condition, no accidents, no scratches, no dents, no need for additional repairs and I have all the necessary documents for the sale.

It is guarded by a car garage, maintened very well. The final price is AED 150,000 including shipping and insurance. I agree to leave you a few days for testing. The car comes with a rating of own history and number. Is being registered in Dubai and it will be no problem to cancel the registration and turn it on your name. I spoke with one of my friends in England and he said there was no need for me to come over there to close the case in person because there are many companies that can handle such situations. So I did some research work and discovered a local company. I’ve asked how much it will cost for such a transaction and they indicated to me to propose the delivery address (so they can calculate shipping costs). In case you are still interested please let me know your address where you want it to be delivered so the company can calculate the total cost.

Thank you.”

So a car one year old for around half it’s original value could be possible in times of desperation, but then also this stuff about England had me thinking – there has to be something wrong here. Then before I could do anything I got an mail from Dubizzle saying:

Dear user,

The ad that you have responded to

2009 Cayenne S

has been identified by our users and the Dubizzle administrator as a scam. This listing is fraudulent and the poster is attempting to scam Dubizzle users.  We strongly suggest that you DO NOT enter into any sort of financial transaction with this person, and that you end all communication with them immediately.

Thank you,

The Dubizzle Team

Full marks to the Dubizzle team for quickly dispersing feedback on scam ads and being very proactive – I was really impressed. I didn’t think too much of this when I was asked by my cousin to look over a rental flat deal that they were interested in. My cousin mentioned that it was a fully furnished large one bedroom apartment in JBR for only 4,000 aed a month ( $1090) which is probably around half what the market is doing right now.

I was only happy to help as the apartment in question was just across the road. Here is the email

Subject: RE: Dubai Marina 1BR furnished apartment

Hello,

In order to provide you with more details about the property I am offering for rent, please consult the following information: the apartment is located in Al Bahar 6, has an approximate surface of square feet 985 and has 1 bedroom, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom and 1 living room. The rental period will be determined by the both of us at the beginning. I’m renting my apartment for any period between 3 and 36 months.

I want you to know that I am looking for a tenant that will be first of all a responsible person, but also dynamic and communicative. The rent level includes utilities such as electricity, water, internet, satellite and will be AED4000 per month. The apartment has its own parking space for two cars. You can live in my apartment either alone or with family/friend. Also I have nothing against pets.

Initially I had to work here in Brighton, England for 6 months, but gladly it looks like I’m needed here for a longer period, minimum 36 months. I’ve already settled here with my family and we’ve decided to rent our apartment from Dubai so I’ve contacted FindaProperty, left with them the keys of my apartment, the ownership contract, the tenancy contract and a insurance deposit. Don’t worry about any additional fees; all taxes have already been paid by me.

To start the process give me your complete name and address and FindaProperty will contact you with all the instruction needed. About the payment, you will be instructed to deposit AED4000 into their account. As protection policy for you, the money will remain in FindaProperty’s account until you make the inspection of the apartment and declare yourself satisfied. If this is the case, then the money will be sent to me and will represent first month’s rent. My insurance will be that FindaProperty will have your money in their custody during the delivery process.

After your payment will be confirmed, FindaProperty will begin the delivery process. They will send you a package containing the keys of my apartment and the contract at the address you’ve provided in max 48h. Starting the day you’ve received the package you will have 7 days for inspection and accommodation. If you decide to keep the apartment then you must contact FindaProperty and give them the permission to release the deposit money to me for the completion of the transaction. On the other hand, if you don’t like the apartment then you send back the keys and the contract and you request a refund from FindaPropery, although I know this will not be the case because you will simply love the apartment.

Considering all of the above, if you are set on renting the flat, I’m waiting for your complete name and address to forward them to FindaProperty so they can begin the procedure right away.

Waiting for your response, please receive my best regards,

Ali Haider

There were some rather nice photos accompanying the email used as the “convincer”‘:

When I read this first email  – my thoughts were :

1. Wow – looks like a nice flat (I wouldn’t mind it for myself)

2. What does Findaproperty (a well respected property portal in the UK) have to do with this?

3. All utilities and internet included? That would be at least 500aed a month alone

4. Two parking spots for a one bedroom apartment – that is nearly unheard of in Dubai Marina

5.  “I have nothing against pets” – well Dubai Properties does

6. They want an upfront deposit before you can even see the apartment and to go and get the money from Findaproperty if you don’t want the flat?

So my cousin got the next email requesting the deposit money be sent via moneygram and a copy of a Tenancy agreement for 4000 aed. Here that email:

“Transaction no. AC22682

“We”, “Our”, “Us” refers to FindaProperty® and its subsidiaries, employees, officers, agents, affiliates or assigned parties.      FindaProperty® connects more people with more property than anyone else.    FindaProperty® is a fast, reliable way to pay or get paid for renting apartments.

Note: the Landlord has left in our custody all that is necessary for the transaction to go as smooth as possible, more precisely the contract filled in and signed and also the keys to the property.

These will remain in the FindaProperty custody until the tenant will send the payment through a Money Order Service (Money Gram Service). After verifying the funds, the package will be ready for disposal.

Address Information:

Landlord:

First name: Agha Muhammad Ali

Last name: Haider

Package Information:

* Package ID: AC22682

* Insured Value Amount: 700.00£.

* Apartment keys and rental contract* verified and signed by the Sender. Owner of the apartment in: Apartment xx on x floor, Al Bahar x, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina. All the papers are double checked.

* Please note that a copy of the contract is also attached to this email.

Payment Information:

Pay with cash at any MoneyGram office the sum of 700£ using the FindaProperty® Agent’s payment details:

First name: Mike

Last name: Zandir

If your payment is approved, typically within 12 hours, you will receive an email confirming that your payment is approved. After payment validation, we will send the package at the address you have provided us with. Payment will be held by FindaProperty® until you confirm us that you are satisfied with the apartment. As soon as we receive your confirmation we will get the payment available for pick up by the Landlord.

We can confirm you that you are fully protected in the transaction with this owner, only in these cases:

* Payment sent but keys and documents not received.

* No response to your messages.

* Payment sent but apartment is not like as the owner described it.

* The insurer of this transaction is FindaProperty® Inc.

* The account is managed by FindaProperty® Inc.

* This transaction is supervised by FindaProperty® Inc SafeTrade Team.

Currently, this owner has a GBP 5,000.00£ deposit in an FindaProperty® managed purchase protection account. Transactions with this owner are covered by purchase protection against fraud and description errors. FindaProperty® repeatedly tries to encourage the other party to respond to a case, but ase, but we cannot fully guarantee participation, since the process is completely voluntary. If the respondent does not reply within one week from when the case was initially filed, it is unlikely that you will receive a response and we will close the case and refund you with the entire amount insured by the tenant protection policy valid for your case. If we hear from the other party after the case closes, we will reopen the case and notify you.

After the seven days inspection and accommodation term, if the customer is not satisfied then he is entitled for a refund. After the request for the refund has been received, the money will be sent to the customer in maximum 72 hours.

If you need to contact us please use this e-mail:

FindaProperty@representative.com

Sincerely,

Christopher Ryan Roderick

FindaProperty® Rental Department”

The spoofed email address of findaproperty@representative.com spelling errors and sending the money to a random guy in Brighton at a residential address were obvious giveaways.

I take my hat off to them. A nice HTML email with all the right logos on it. Though I am sure that Findaproperty will be less than pleased with the use of their name and trademark in this way.

So I am sorry Mr Agha Muhammad Ali and Mr Mike Zandir you will not be receiving a moneygram for £700 anytime soon. I was also really pleased my cousin contacted me asking for some help because they were sorely tempted to send the money.

As with all things in Dubai you really are best to look very hard before you leap.


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