Local woman falls victim to Nigerian rental scam

The woman wired about $2,600 from the Walmart in Lorain to the location in Nigeria, according to the report.
Shawn Foucher
Mar 11, 2014

 

When someone asks you to wire cash to Nigeria, take a long pause to reflect on the request.

Hopefully, you’ll decide not to send the money. It never seems to turn out well.

A local woman may have learned this the hard way Friday afternoon after she wired a whopping $2,600 to a Nigerian who promised she could rent his Sandusky home.

The thing is, it wasn’t his home to rent.

The woman called Sandusky police at about 4:30 p.m. Friday and told her story, which police detailed in a report.

The woman said she went online to search for a home to rent, and soon found suitable three-bedroom digs in the 1900 block of E. Oldgate Road. She called the phone number listed with the ad, and a man soon called her back.

He told her she could rent the place for $700 a month, but she’d also need to provide a $600 security deposit. The woman granted that request, and she also offered to pay for another two months of rent, for an additional cost of about $1,400, according to the police report.

The woman said the man told her to send the money to Tennessee, but he then changed his request and asked her to send it to Missouri, according to the report. Finally, the man contacted the woman and told her there was an emergency — his secretary got in an accident — and he needed her to send the money to Nigeria.

He gave the hopeful buyer an address on St. Mary Street, in a place called Festactown, in Lagos, Nigeria.

The woman wired about $2,600 from the Walmart in Lorain to the location in Nigeria, according to the report. When the woman talked to the man again, he told her she would need to send him money for an additional two months of rent if she wanted to get the keys to the home.

At this point, she became suspicious. And she decided she wanted her money back.

She contacted a Vermilion attorney, who determined the Oldgate Road home had been foreclosed and was listed for a sheriff’s auction in September.

Police suspect the Nigerian scammer found the Sandusky home’s details listed online, then posted the home as available for rent. The scammer had absolutely no stake in the property, other than using it as bait to lure an unsuspecting renter.

According to the police report, the scammer even went so far as to use the name of the 80-year-old woman who previously lived in the home.

Local realtors have long warned area residents about similar scams in recent years. The scammers lure hopeful renters or buyers through online ads, enticing them to provide a down payment on a rental or purchase. Typically, the scammers only make contact by phone or online, and they ask people to wire or mail money to an address.

You should not do this, according to local experts.

Realtors have told residents they should only meet with a homeowner or landlord in-person, or through an established local company.

In this case, the police report said the scammer “acted like he wanted the money sent to him somewhere in the U.S. first, so the person(s) would not be suspicious, then changed it to Nigeria, where he must actually live”

Coincidentally, the telephone prefix for the Erie County and north central Ohio area, 419, is the same number used by the Nigerian legal system to classify some crimes involving financial or impersonation scams, according to the FBI. It’s called “419 fraud”

Comments

starryeyes83

SMDH. I can't believe people fall for this stuff. Even younger people fall for this stuff. I don't get it.

Stop It

Do people who write 'SMDH' really shake their damn head or do you just type it for the hell of it to put a stressor to your message?

starryeyes83

Well , since it's just about the first time I've ever used it ... you'll have to ask someone who has a habit of using it more. Actually, I think I just shrugged my shoulders and ""Pfffft" -ed ,loudly, but I wasn't sure how to spell that. LOL.

ROTFLMAO! Emoticons would be a big help.

xtensionofme

Didn't think in this day & age, there was anybody who was that gullible. Guess I was wrong.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

The dumbocrats were gullible enough to be scammed on Oweasel’s hope and change BS, so anything’s possible.

BabyMomma

Ha ha lmfao. Seriously?

JMOP

I feel for her. This wasn't the regular Nigerian Prince who will give you money after you sent $2500 first email. There was a local area code.

Is Western Union the only wiring company? I'm assuming this was done by Western Union. Makes me wonder why they don't raise flags to their customers while wiring the money there.

ladydye_5

They make their money , what do they care? They are in business to wire money...not tell people they are being scammed.

he said she said

WalMart is all about the money. They don't care if someone is being scammed or not, they want the money they charge for sending the money.

I saw something similar on Craigslist. When I called the number it was pretty much the same thing, send the first month plus x amount for the deposit. Then I got another call that they needed another three months to be able to send me the keys. I lived close to the address listed so I took a walk. Well, the house was up for sale by a local realtor so I took their number down and gave them a call and told what was happening to their property. I heard from the 'renters' again and when I told them I changed my mind, that the realtors didn't want to rent at this time, they hung up.

If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is.

ohioengineer

I realize we live in an age when no one is responsible for anything that happens to them, but asking a business to question the actions of a customer in a private business transaction is ridiculous. If Walmart tried to do this, they would immediately be sued and there would be newspaper stories crying about how big brother Walmart is sticking its nose where it shouldn't.

JMOP

I agree with everything you said ohioengineer, but I also look at it this way. When the whole Target fiasco happened, I called my bank to cancel my debit card. As soon as I called, there was an automated voice saying they are aware of the Target situation, and are keeping an eye on all accounts, and will stop any suspicious transactions. Just wondering why Western Union can't do the same.

usmc21

Craigslist????

he said she said

Hey, I had never been to or used Craigslist before. I wanted to know what all the hype was that I was hearing. Been there, done that, moved on. I will not go there for anything else but a few laughs....

GoBigLex2001

LOL!!