DEAR LANDLORD

Updated April 29 2012


A housing scam correspondence from "Lovey Howell". For more on this kind of thing (same m.o. as other scams described on this web site), see:
- SOME RESERVATIONS
- INN KEEPER CASE STUDY
- POLES APART
- ROOMMATE SCAMS

Hi, Lovey Howell here. I was married to the millionaire Thurston Howell, but after being rescued from years on a desert island (after what was supposed to be a three-hour tour), we broke up. Thurston had been having an affair with Mary Anne the whole time, and back in the USA he went nuts what with all the other women around. I wound up with pretty much nothing from the divorce, and had to learn to make a living. So I became a physical therapist for other wheelchair users (I'll spare you the details of my accident, let's just say that the Skipper was not a well man and pianos on hydraulic lifts are not as much fun as you'd think).

Recently, I decided to move. Craigslist listed a really nice place for a price so low it had to be bogus.

I searched Craigslist for the terms used in the ad, and found the real ad, with the real rent (way higher). The scammer copied it. This is a well-known scam in Nigeria, where its Nigerian victims sometimes put signs on their houses saying "This house is not for sale". But the scammers don't even have to be on the same continent as the homeowner or the prospective tenant.

For fun, I responded to the scammer. I hope this little correspondence keeps other people from being scammed.
--Kisses, Lovey


Starring
Jack P Mattson - rent scammer
vs.
Lovey Howell - wheelchair-bound physical therapist seeking a new home


Lovey Howell (me)

To: "mattsonjackp@yahoo.com" <mattsonjackp@yahoo.com>
Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Subject: re: home for rent

Dear Mr. Mattson,
I'm interested in the rental.
Can you give me some more details?
When is it available, what is the deposit, and when it is available for viewing?
I have a steady job, no children, no pets.
I have one car, is there a garage? Also, is it near a bus line or BART? (Can you tell me the address or at least the nearest major intersection?)

Thank you.

Jack P Mattson

I forgot about the whole thing, until he answered.

Mar 13

Hello
Thanks for the email.I own the House and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer to (Bangkok,Thailand) that makes us to leave the House and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person and God fearing person who can take very good care of the house in our absence.

I am doing volunteering work with The American Refugee Committee (ARC).You can check our website: (http://www.arcrelief.org) .We are not after the money for the rent but we want it to be clean all the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in Thailand and will be staying here for the next 4-7 years in our new House and also with the keys of the House for rent, we try to look for an agent that we can give this documents and the keys before we left but could not find, and we as well do not want our House to be used any how in our absence that is why we took it along with us.I and my Wife came over to West Thailand for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us that you will take very good care of the house.So get back to me if you know you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home. Hope you are okay with the price of $800 per month and the security Deposit is $500.Get back to me for the rental application.You can go and view.
Here is the home address below:
xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx Drive, xxxxxxxx xxxxx CA xxxxx
Pets is allowed
Thanks and remain Blessed
Jack P Mattson

Dear reader, please understand that just because the American Refugee Committee exists, and the scammer has mentioned their web site, does NOT mean he has anything to do with them. But you knew that. Right? If not, please go back to the main page of the site and read it aloud to yourself.

Lovey Howell (me)

March 13

Oh darn I didn't see your mail. I hope I didn't miss this opportunity.
If it's still available, please send the application.
I still really want to move. It is very noisy here. I have never rented a house, only apartments, but I think a house will be quieter, that is why I want to rent a house like yours.
I see the house is on one level and has a driveway (I am in a wheelchair and use a special van) and it's only a short drive to the BART station. I don't really drive much, just enough to get to BART. So this means a lot.
I am not of your faith but I hope you are not prejudiced. I am responsible and will take good care of a house.
Please send the application.

I fibbed a bit here, when I lived with Thurston, it's true we lived in apartments, but they were huge. Everything about our lives was huge. But I've adjusted. I am a self-reliant woman, have specially outfitted van, will travel.

Jack P Mattson

Still in action at this address

Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012

You are welcome, It is good to hear from you with this detail.Below are some questions that I need you to answer ,so that we can discuss further.You can go check the neighborhood and get back to me for further discussion.It is available for a long lease as I intend buying a new home on getting back to the state.


RENT QUESTIONNAIRE
1)Your Full Name?
2)Your Full Address & Phone Number?
3)Are you married?
4)How many people will be living in the house?
5)Do you have a pet?
6)Do you have a car?
7)Occupation?
8)how long lease are you looking for?
9)How soon do you intend moving in?
10)Reason for relocating?

I hereby apply to lease the above described premises for the term and upon the set conditions above set forth and agree that the rental is to be payable the first day of each month in advance. As an inducement to the owner of the property . I warrant that all statements above set forth are true; however, should any statement made above be a misrepresentation or not a true statement of facts, all of the deposit will be retained to offset the agent's cost, time, and effort in processing my application.

I hereby deposit $___________ as earnest money to be refunded to me if this application is not accepted in 3 business banking days. Upon acceptance, this deposit shall be retained as part of the security deposit. When so approved and accepted, I agree to execute a lease for ___________ months before possession is given and to pay the balance of the security deposit prior to the move in date. If the application is not approved or accepted by the owner, the deposit will be refunded, the application hereby waiving any claim for damages by reason of non-acceptance which the owner or agent may reject. I recognize that as a part of your procedure for processing my application, an investigative consumer report may be prepared whereby information is obtained through personal interviews with others with whom I may be acquainted. This inquiry includes information as to my character, general reputation, personal characteristics and mode of living.

The above information, to the best of my knowledge, is true and correct.


Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that I can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt and contacting you. Await your reply so we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you

Lovey Howell (me)

I fill in the questionnaire. Of course no way am I sending money.
I pretend I didn't see the deposit mentioned in his last email.

Dear Mr. Mattson,
I am glad the place is still available and here is the questionnaire.

RENT QUESTIONNAIRE
1)Your Full Name? Lovey Howell
2)Your Full Address & Phone Number? 611 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607, (510) 238-3583

3)Are you married? No
4)How many people will be living in the house? 1
5)Do you have a pet? no
6)Do you have a car? yes
7)Occupation? Physical therapist
8)how long lease are you looking for? one year with month by month extension
9)How soon do you intend moving in? july 2012
10)Reason for relocating? quieter environment

I am a little unsure about some of the things you wrote:

"I hereby apply to lease the above described premises for the term and upon the set conditions above set forth"

There were no conditions above. What does this mean please?

"I hereby deposit $___________ "

I don't understand this, where am I supposed to deposit money and how much?
I have not heard of this kind of thing before.
I would of course expect to make a deposit upon acceptance of my application, but usually it's first and deposit or something like that.

OK looking forward to your reply

Sincerely,
Lovey Howell

I doubt he'll bother calling that number, he's not a real landlord and could care less about my references, but if he does call, he'll reach the folks at the Oakland, California jail.

Jack P Mattson

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lol your move in date is the issue here if we accepted you as our tenants are you ready to secure.

Lovey Howell (me)

Dear Mr. Mattson,
Please see answer to question 9.
Also why 'lol' ? Did I say something funny?

Sincerely,
Lovey Howell

I'll be surprised if this goes on but will add more if it does. Just watch yourself out there! Housing ads are infested with people like this.

Jack P Mattson

April 1

MISS Eve, i guess your move in date is ok but if only you can secured the house till then that means you will pay the application fee of $50+security deposit of $500 that makes it $550 that is what am trying to let you know, so am sorry if it look too funny to me once again you are welcome and God Bless you.

Lovey Howell (me)

Well I was so busy I didn't even look at this. I wonder if he's still there.

Dear Mr. Mattson,

Oh jeepers, I didn't look at this email for a while. I thought you were just fooling around, because you wrote "lol", so I figured you were just some kind of joker. Are you serious about this place? I am so ready to move. I hope it's still available.

Also, I am not Eve, I am Lovey, she is getting tired of me using her account here in the group home, and it is just one more reason I want to move. I do not have enough room or enough privacy. When I was unemployed it was hard to come up with the scratch to move, but now that I am now working as a physical therapist I can move out and also get my own computer. I'll get one after I move out, because this neighborhood is not so safe. So meanwhile I do not have my own computer and I can't use the one at the library because the doors are not wide enough for my wheelchair, which is against the Americans With Disabilities Act but that's another story.

I can pay a deposit of course but if you have already decided to accept me as a tenant, why must I pay a separate application fee?

Hoping to hear from you, I gave notice and now I have to be out of here by the end of the month, which is sooner than I planned, so I have to choose between your offer and another place over in Diente Perdido, but it's more expensive.

Sincerely and in healing,
Lovey Howell

 

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