Hi All, I have recently had an experience with a scammer who was offering a room for rent in Singapore. Although I did not send any money, I did make the mistake of sending a scan of my passport. I registered here to warn people of their activities and also as a future warning in case my details are used for similar purposes. Looking back I should have checked this forum first, because I was sent an email that was nearly identical to one posted here.
The story begins on easyroommate.com.sg where I had registered my interest in finding a flat. I was contacted by someone who gave me their email address for further details. I responded to this and received the following emails: First Email
Sent under the name Johanna Sennevall - email@example.com
Thanks for your mail, I can reserve the room for you until the day of your move in but only if you show me how serious you need the room. I have other offer who is also interested in the room but I think we will be a perfect match (flatmate) and I would love to give the room to you. My apartment is a Two bedroom apartment located on 20 Handy Rd, Singapore 229236 to be precise and I am looking for tenants for one of the rooms in the apartment. The apartment belongs to my Mother although she got it from my father after the demise of my Father last year.
The apartment is fully furnished and also the rooms am renting out so you might not need to come with any other furniture but if you intend coming with any stuff, let me know alright?... The apartment has a heating system, water, parking space, security, Electricity, Gas, Phone, Internet Connectivity (Broadband), You would have free and unlimited access to the kitchen, the store room, the guest room, and all areas and part of the house except my room of course...
You are also entitled to your own visitors.
The two rooms has the same amenities and are of the same size. The rent for the apartment and also the cost of the utility bills is $900. Once again, this includes the cost of the utilities as earlier mentioned. The apartment is centrally located and is just some minutes walk to the nearest bus station and also you would have easy and fast access to other locations.
You would also be required to pay a security deposit as is the custom, the security deposit would be refunded to you at the end of your stay in the apartment if nothing is destroyed by you during your stay in the apartment. The deposit is $600. About Me: My Name is Jue He I am a 25 year old Female. I am the only child of my parents and I live alone in this apartment.This apartment used to be my family apartment till when my Dad moved us all to London where he eventually passed away but I alone stay here in the apartment and have being renting it out for sometime now. My last flatmate left for France last week hence my search for new flatmates.
I am calm and laid back person and my hobbies are reading, swimming and also at times on Fridays/weekend, I attend social events but I have not being having the opportunity dues to my work to hang out with my friends. I work as a marketing officer and when I am free I go to the pool to relax my mind and also unwind. I also visit the gym to keep fit at times..
Let me also know more about you because I believe it is essential that we get to know each other before we become flatmates. I shall be glad to send you pictures and also the contract so that we can conclude and be good flatmates.
I await to read your response.
Jue HeSecond Email
Sent under the name Jue He
Thanks for your mail. My apartment has 2 rooms and a living room,so i use one room while other is for rent and there is also a visitor room in the apartment,which I used as guest room.I have scanned the pictures of my apartment and you should find them below; the living room,bathroom and toilet that is in the rooms that I have for rent and would be for your private use and also pictures of the Kitchen where we deal with our stomach...!!!:) Regarding your question I made a mistake with the price and they correct amount for the rent for 1month is 800$ how many month are you will to pay?
The rent for the apartment for all of you is $800 while you would also make a security deposit of $600. This deposit would be refunded to you at the end of your stay in the apartment if nothing is destroyed during your stay. Before we proceed though,there are some conditions and rules and I would like us to decide on and it just requires your consent and afterwards we can proceed with the contract and for you to reserve the room and to move in soon:
1.You shall sign a document ( Tenement Agreement Document) confirming that the room has been reserved for you and thereafter you can then make your payment for the reservation and also for your immediate move in following the contract.
2.You shall have to read the agreement contract which i shall send to you firstly as an attached mail before you make your payment.
For the document to be prepared successfully, I would be needing the following details:
(1) Your Full Name
(2) Your move in and out date:
(3) Your current address and also the address where you would like the keys to the apartment,the Original copy of the contract and also the receipt of payment sent to after confirmation of payment from my mother, which you shall sign and bring along with you when moving in finally as my room mate
(4) Your scanned ID passport for identification..
I hope you quite understand me and everything?
There is also a washer and dryer in the apartment for the laundry needs and also to the apartment has a car park....Infact,it has being allotted two car spaces.
I wait to read from you soonest to continue the contract and further details about the documents towards having you as my room mate.
Jue HeThird Email
I am extremely happy and glad that we have come to a conclusion as regards the renting and also the documents. I have the documents for you, read it thoroughly and sign on it before you can then make your payment and move in. I have also attached for you my international passport ID for your security.
When you have read the Contract and are sure you can abide by the rules and the regulations on the contract, you should send the stated sum in the contract to my Mother whose information appears on the contract. Her information once again is:
Below is her information:
Name: DANIELLA HE
City/State : Kuala Lumpur, Country : Malaysia, Postcode : 55000
You should have the payment sent to her by Western Union Money Transfer, All you have to do is locate any western union office/location or check there website on http://www.westernunion.com/locator
to check any nearest office and send the payment to my Mother.
When you have made your payment by western union to her, you would get back to me with the payment confirmation which are:
- The money transfer control number; MTCN
- The sender's first and last name and also the location where it was sent from.
- The Amount sent.
- Scanned receipt.
As soon as I get these details and have confirmed it, I would then begin the sending of the Contract Documents and also the receipt of payment to your home address just as you have provided and I would like that you confirm it for me again:
I await your payment confirmation and I am happy for we would be the best flatmates ever. Thanks for choosing me and my room and Pls find attached the Tenement agreement and my Passport below and make your payment for me to reserve the room for your eventual move in.
Looking forward to hear from you with the payment confirmation.
Jue HeMy response
Hi Jue He,
I'm happy with the terms, except the payment of the deposit. Easyroomate.sg specifically warns about not paying anything using western union. Since I'm quite new to this and don't really know what I'm doing, I'm going to adhere to their advice. I would be perfectly happy to pay you the deposit in cash in person once I have the keys, but not before I've seen the flat.
I hope you understand that I need to take precautions since I've never been there before. If you need other forms of legal documentation or guarantor my friend's father is a lawyer in singapore who might be able to help.
Thanks for your email, I have inform my lawyer and my mother about the whole thing and they let me understand that there is confirm the payment for the reservation for the room cos that is how we have been for the international student coming from another country and also for you to know that everything is fine that is the main reason why I include my international passport ID along with the tenement agreement for your own personal security purpose.
I would need you to sign on the Tenement agreement document and forward it back to me with the payment details after you have made the payment to my Mother so that I can begin the sending of the Keys, contract documents and receipt of payment to you and reserve the room for you.
PS : Am really sorry to inform you that if you cannot confirm the rent + security deposit to my mother I would be force to inform my mother to accept offer from another mate who are ready and serious to confirm 6month rent + security deposit to her.
Kindly get back to me asap because i have been having many other offers which I have been turning down because of you.
Looking forward to read from you with the payment confirmation.
I'm almost certain that this is a scam. Beyond the obvious factors of demanding payment before I see the room via western union, and that the email I was sent has been reproduced almost word for word here, I have also noted some other features that might be of use to other people in the future. Some of these caught my attention immediately, others in retrospect.
1) Suddenly the quality of written English changed when I threw in a question they did not expect. The prior emails were all well written, but then when pushed there were a huge number of grammatical mistakes and it hardly made sense. (See fourth email)
2) Asking for a passport photo or sending one, this could be a red flag. It's meant to be a reassurance, but the scan used is most likely a previous victim.
3) The name on their email account changes for no reason.
4) An extended life story in the first or second email is suspicious. Probably another reassurance tactic.
5) The listing and original message to me on easyroommate.com.sg were removed by the site, with the message "Email has been removed for your safety." I put this down to the presence of an email address in the advert
6) Obviously the part about contacting a lawyer and legal requirements of sending a deposit first are rubbish.
7) Discrepancies in the personal history. Here, she claims to have moved to the UK with her whole family from Singapore, but then the passport scan is of a Chinese passport. It's not impossible, but very unlikely that someone with a Chinese passport can move their entire family to the UK on a whim. Then, the payment details of her "mother" are for someone located in Malaysia.
I've uploaded the Contract document as a google document so you can all see it. https://docs.google.com/document/edit?i ... y=CIP86vkB
The signature is cut off at the edges and doesn't match the person's name, no matter how you look at it. It's probably photoshopped from a previous victim's passport scan. If you guys think it's a good idea I'll make the document completely public so people without the link can view it too.
Also included in the emails were high res photos of the flat and a high res scan of "Jue He," almost certainly not the person's true identity.
The one thing I'm worried about now is that this person has a scan of my own passport. It's not particularly high res, but it could be used to scam other people. Does anyone here have any advice on who I should contact about that?
Thanks for reading, and I hope my information has been useful. If anyone has any other questions or requests, like message headers I will be happy to oblige.Edit: Uploaded Jue He's passport photo: http://imgur.com/SSBcq.jpg