Flat rent - Western Union possible scam

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koster | 00:02 Wed 12th Mar 2008 | Home & Garden
3 Answers
I placed a "Flat Wanted" advert on the Gumtree website.

I got a reply from someone offering a flat to rent, but the offer seems 'too good to be true'. Basically the person is offering a 2-bedroom flat with en-suite bathrooms for less than the price I would expect to pay for a 1-bedroom flat in a similar location.

Unusually, the deposit amount is just over double one month's rent (one month's rent is more common).

Before viewing, in order to prove that I am serious about wanting the flat, she has asked me to transfer the deposit amount to my partner or relative via Western Union, and email and scan the Western Union document to her. I should do this before viewing the flat.

So I would not be paying her any money, I am just transferring it a my relative and back. She says she will pay back the fee.

Presumably this is some kind of scam, but what's going on here? Obviously I'm not going to do it. Is she planning to use the scanned document to pose as my relative and pick up the money from a Western Union branch? I thought you needed to give the other person a secret code to pick up the funds.


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The 'test question' is not available for sending Western Union funds from many countries (including the UK). All that you need to collect the funds from a Western Union agent is proof of identity. However, recipients are asked to provide the 'money transfer control number' if the sender has told them it (which is exactly what you'd be doing if you you scanned the Western Union documentation and forwarded it). Many (probably most) Western Union agents would regard this as a prime form of identification:

I saw a programme about a scam from Nigeria and they have hijacked dating sites. They are using models photos and pretending to be possible dates. Anyway they are conning soft people out of money asking them to send money via the Western Union pretending they need the airfair to travel here and are sick etc to dupe people. A guy was conned out of a lot of money and so was a woman.

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Flat rent - Western Union possible scam

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