Friday, May 21, 2010

"Keep it secret. Keep it safe!"

Ok, maybe not secret, but definitely safe. Your money is not just money. It's all your hopes and dreams for the future. It's how you want to live and what you want to do. You should protect your money the same way you would protect your hopes and dreams.

The other day I got an email in response to a posting for an apartment I have for rent. It was from a man named Derek Rice who had been hired by a local company called Layton Construction to do some engineering work on a project here in Salt Lake. He would be moving here for a year from the UK and needed a place for him and his wife to stay. He sent me some references and gave me a phone number in the UK.

I have met people that are working in this country for a company for a year or two. It often is an engineer. I thought, "Wow, the company basically would guarantee my rent payment!"

I don't have long distance so I started with the company he said he was working for. It was a legitimate construction company here in Salt Lake. Then I went to the reference he gave me. They worked for the company but were unavailable. I was a little excited because it seemed to check out. I also knew he would have steady income and be able to pay rent.

I replied to the email and asked some questions about him. He quickly responded answering most of my questions and asking for specific measurements of the apartment so that he could order furniture.

Something wasn't right though. In the email he said that he would be making $80,000/yr. and he wanted to rent my dinky two bedroom for $650. No pool, no gym, nothing. It just struck me as odd. If I was him I'd be staying in a big complex I could find online with all the amenities. It just seemed to good to be true.

So, I decided to do  some more research. I googled "Layton Construction Scam." Sure enough Layton Construction had an advisory on their page about the exact situation that this man was describing. It said that it was a scam which would soon ask for personal information from me.

The point is that if it sounds too good to be true it is.  However, people often get distracted by greed. When someone sees an opportunity that could pay off big they have a hard time saying no. If it sounds too good to be true it is. Don't believe you've found an exception. There is none. Anything that pays off big has equally large risk.


Anonymous said...

I represent Layton Construction Company. Yes, the circumstances described in the post by Benjamin Bowman are part of an internet fraud case. We have filed the case with the FBI (, and just this morning, I've been on the phone with a detective in Kent, Washington as we try to follow a lead to one of the perpetrators. I've had personal phone conversations with apartment renters around the country (New Jersey, South Carolina, North Dakota, to name a few) who have been contacted through their craigslist advertisement. It is a scam. It does sound good, but it is too good to be true. Stay away.

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