Scam emails I’ve received during apartment search in Germany

If you search a flat in Germany, you will receive tons of scam emails. This one is the first and last(so far) scam mail I actually replied.

Good evening,Thank you for your request in regard to my place (38m², 3rd floor, no elevator!) from Occamstraße 17, Schwabing-Freimann 80802, Munich.

The rent is 580 €, including the water, TV licence & WIFI and the Kaution is 1160 €.

The cost for electricity/heating is paid separately, according to your consumption of course. The heating works on electricity (central heating), so the bill may vary between 30-70€ (warm/cold months).

The move-in date and the contract's length are up to discussion, as I am flexible with dates, although I would prefer signing a permanent contract.

Thank you,
Rosanna

I didn’t see anything suspicious (Actually I did. The rent was very low for Munich, but who knows maybe I was lucky) so I replied;

Hello Rosanna,

The room and location is perfect for me. I'm interested in your flat and I would be very happy to arrange a visit. We can sign a contract starting from October if it's suitable for you.
Best,
Onur

I received the below email and thought “well.. this is a scam obviously because nobody writes that long without boring him/herself”. Nevertheless I gave it a chance. This was the first scam mail I got from a fake mother who is talking about how rude some people are… She’s trying to build trust.

Hello,

I am able to set up a viewing next week, as per your convenience.

The apartment is furnished and equipped. I have the option of moving the furniture into storage, if you want to bring your own (we have a keller in the basement).

My daughter spent a couple of years in Munich, studying and working for an international sales company. I'm renting the place, as she is starting a new business on her own in our home country Greece.

I am the owner of the place, therefore you can register at our address (Anmeldung) without any problem.

This is the second time when I try to rent my apartment, I almost had a "deal" with a "nice couple" before, who said that they would definitely rent the apartment and convinced me to come over to Germany. So I got a plane ticket and they didn't show up. I lost money and precious time on their promise.

So don't get me wrong and don't take it personally, but I don't want to fall for it once more. I just need to be sure of your seriousness.

I am interested in knowing how long of a lease are you looking for, and with whom are you going to live in the apartment.


Also where are you from?

Cordial greetings,
Rosanna

I sent an email to convince her that I’m not wasting her time and thinking very serious about renting her apartment…

Hello Rosanna,

I'm very serious about renting this apartment because the location is very convenient for me. I will start working in a robotic company located in Garching. I was looking for a place somewhere between Munich and Garching and this apartment is very close to U6 line that goes to Garching. I will live in the apartment by myself so 1 room and 38m^2 is enough living space for me. I'm thinking to make a contract for a year first then maybe extend it more later. I would like to bring a couple of furniture (especially my bed) but I can use all the other furniture in the flat.
I'm from Antalya, Turkey. I was living last 6 years in Istanbul then I moved to Stuttgart last year for work purposes.I can come to Munich this week on 14.08 Tuesday or 16.08 Thursday or next week 21.08 Tuesday or 24.08 Friday between 18:00-19:00.Best,
Onur.

And finally she replied with the keyword Western Union. But interestingly she’s asking to send some money to myself to prove that I have the money. Of course she (or probably he) can easily collect the money with a fake ID from western union.

Dear Onur,

If you are really interested and decided, you can secure the apartment from now on, and I would keep it available for you until we meet.

It is unfortunate that my past bitter experience of inviting people to come and view my apartment without any form of confirmation of their financial ability and not keeping up to time as at when scheduled, has brought about great loss to me.

I'm sure you are honest person so please don't understand me wrong but some tenants are not really decided or do not have the money to pay the rent and yet they disturb me to arrange a viewing with their friends.

My husband and I have decided to carry out a simple test on seriousness and financial ability before coming for viewing.

I want to be sure that when we'll meet in Munich, it might be a chance that we'll do the renting papers, sign the renting contract, give you the keys and return to my home if you really like the flat conditions. I will not ask for money in advance before moving in, I don't need any deposit from you or pay me any money at all.

But as a warranty that you really can afford to rent my apartment, I require that you arrange a money transfer, on your name!
Because I used this system with my daughter when she lived in Munich, here is what I propose:

Ask a family member to find the nearest Western Union agency, and send you a money transfer with the cost of the security deposit + first month's rent ( 1160 € + 580 € = 1740 € ) sent to you, and on your name.

This transfer will be a warranty, so I can be sure that you will wait for me in Munich when I will arrive.

Example of transfer:

sender’s name : family member's name


receiver’s name : Onur Uzun
receiver’s address : Munich, Germany

After the transfer is done, you will receive a receipt. You have to take a picture of it and send it to me attached trough e-mail, as evidence. This proof will be enough for me to see that your interest in renting my apartment is real.

At my turn, I will book the flight ticket immediately and send you a copy of it. Then, we will set up a place and a time when we should meet in Munich.

After we meet, you will inspect the apartment and if you want to keep it, we will go to a notary office and do all the needed paperwork. Then, we’ll go together to a bank branch that has a Western Union office and you will collect your money, and make a bank deposit in my personal account where I want to receive the rent payment monthly.

Please note that I will pay for the notary fees when signing the rental contract.

Thank you for your time and understanding,
Rosanna

Here’s an another one I got recently with similar story. I didn’t bother to reply…

Hello,I just read my email about the apartment . I bought this apartment for my daughter during her studies in Germany. But now she's back home permanently, and I will rent the apartment.
First of all I would like to know a little bit about you, like how many people intending to live in apartment and for how long.
The apartment is exactly like you see in the pictures, fully furnished and renovated. Also, very important, utilities (hot / cold water, electricity, wireless broadband Internet access, digital TV, 1 car parking spaces, dishwasher, garbage , microwave, refrigerator and washing machine, etc.) are included in the price of 922 € / month. The security deposit is also 1 month ( 922 € ), and you will receive them back, when you decide to leave the apartment (you will have to give me an answer thirty days in advance). As for me, you can be assured that i will never ask you to leave the apartment. My daughter is building her life here, and i am too old to traveling in Germany, and i not can for disturb you.
You can use my furniture, or you can also use your own if you prefer. If you decide to use yours, you will have access to a very large and well ventilated cellar where you can store my furniture.
Now a little about me so we can get to know each other better. My name is Christophe Witt and I am a 58 year old man and i work to the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE of Lithuania, planning to retire in the next 2 years.
I have a lovely wife, Paula and a Lorena daughter who is 28 years old. I am very proud to say that soon I will be a grandfather. Another member of our family is a 5 year old labrador that we all love as well, I have no problem if you will keep pets in the apartment.
The only drawback is that my job does not allow me to leave Lithuania even for a single day. We just hired some new staff and am responsible for their training. But that does not affect everyone at all.
I can make some arrangements for renting the apartment from Lithuania . At my expense of course.
All the best from Lithuania
Christophe Witt

Then I decided to reply old-fart Christophe and ask him an unrelated question to make him go out of the scope…

Hey Christophe,I have a dog too. We should get them together sometime. What do you think?Best,
Onur

And he replied my question with a different font and c/p ed the regular answer with another font.

Hello Onur,<different font>Yes that will be fine about our dogs. let`s talk about the apartment rent,</different font>The apartment is available from now for rent.
The visit and the rental will be made with an AirBnb reservation.
AirBnb is an online agency made to rent a flat. They are 100% safe. With AirBnb nobody no has lost money.
I will try to explain step by step how this will work:
I have left the keys and the contract (from 1 month to 10 years) with Airbnb.
1.) To start a new AirBnb official rental transaction, I need your information:
Full name, Address, City, Zip code, Country, Your email address, Moving date and for how long you would like to rent
2.) With the information you will provide me, I will start the official AirBnb rental transaction online.
The transportation of the keys of the floor, permanent property paper and rental contract will be made with the agent of AirBnb.
3.) You must deposit in the bank account of AirBnb the first month of rent ( 922 € ) + guarantee ( 922 €) in total 1.844 €.
4.) After the payment is made, AirBnb will send the agent with the keys and all the document to your address that you have provided and will accompany you to my flat to make the visit, sign the rental contract and move to the date you want.
I need information from your side so that I can arrange a meeting with one of the agents with Airbnb so you can see and move into the apartment :Name :
Address :
Post Code :
City :
Country:
How fast you want to move:
How old are you:
Photo of you or passport, ID attached by email:
How many people will stay in the apartment:
Phone number I can contact you with:
Your personal e-mail address:
After receiving this information, I will agree with Airbnb future details.
You will receive news about all future steps as soon as possible.
In case you do not rent it, AirBnb will reimburse your money. I'll wait for the news!Thank you for your time and I will wait for feedback.

I received many more scam mails like these ones. Keywords are sending money through airbnb or western union. I appreciate that they are really trying… Some might think ”Good for you little scammer. You came a long way since Nigerian Prince”. But there’s a reason why Nigerian scammers say they’re from Nigeria.

A study that revealed Nigerian email scams are purposefully designed to look ridiculous so as to provide a better sorting mechanism for time-thrifty scam artists.

Dear scammers; I suggest you to read this article: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/why-do-nigerian-scammers-say-they-are-from-nigeria