Phony apartment ad targets the gullible
February 11th, 2008
NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The difficulty in finding affordable apartments in New York City is providing an opportunity for Internet scam artists to target the gullible.
Bogus apartment rental ads are part of a growing number of scams aimed at people desperate to find reasonably priced housing, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
An advertisement appearing recently on Craigslist offered a two-bedroom apartment with a balcony in Brooklyn for $950 a month instead of $2,200 provided the renter would take it sight unseen and send a security deposit.
Internet fraud and security expert Craig Solomon says "countless" victims fell for the ad and sent money to "JoAnn Rinaggio."
"Avoiding the scam is simple," Solomon says. "Try to always do business face-to-face and never, ever, wire money anywhere."
Documents obtained by the Daily News allege the phony name used in the ad was that of a convicted serial rubber-check writer, JoAnn Smith.