June 20, 2007
To the person who invented the "overseas roommate" scam currently sweeping Portland Craigslist:
You're a cockface and you're making it hard for actual people who aren't long-distance con artists or spambots to find places to live. Every time you pull this shit Craigslist plasters its pages with huger and huger banners telling people to deal only with locals they can meet in person. Room to rent posters start reposting their ads after a day and adding NO OUT-OF-TOWNERS YOU ARE ALL SCAMMERS in big letters at the end. A wide-open welcoming city wraps its arms around itself and gives outsiders the evil eye, and the small cozy friendly world gets a little bigger and colder again.
Posted by dianna at June 20, 2007 04:00 PM
Have you any idea what the overseas roommate scam is? I suppose I can imagine a Nigerian Prince/Spanish Prisoner scenario where the ersatz roommate would love to move in if only the generous roommate/scammee would pay his moving/visa/whatever expenses. Still, I generally envision the roommate searching process as entailing cash flowing from the new roommate to the present occupant and/or landlord, not the other way around. It seems like Craigslist would be better off warning people to be suspicious of anyone looking for both a room and a handout, rather than encouraging blanket xenophobia.
I looked it up. Apparently they send you a cashier's check for more than what they owe, claiming their company included moving expenses in a general expense check. Then they ask you to cash it and wire them back the difference.
That's the bunny. It's worrying; I've got roommate references and pet references, but have I ever stopped to figure out who will vouch for my corporeal existence and good intentions? I have not.
Tangentially, if you Google me, the first hit you get is Michele assuring me on an earlier post that I am a real person to her.