Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another rental scam -

Looking further online for housing we ran into this scam. The email from was received back and oddly enough was fairly identical to the Madden-Brooks properties emails. This one however has a hidden (shortened url) link to the site they want you to visit (although after hitting the tracking website, you end up at; ironically a domain shorter than the one they give you). They also only provide a general area where "their" place is located, never an actual address. The tracking domain used for the url they provide is

Biggest mistake? They used the same exact pictures on all their postings.

This one looks a little bit older than Madden-Brooks, but I am confident it's the same people.

As always ask for the actual address of a place your interested in and google an email address your not sure about, see what else they have done.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Craigslist Property Scam - Madden-Brooks Properties (

Well, my wife and I were looking through places to rent once our current lease expires and we of course went to While searching craigslist, we found one place that looked and sounded amazing. It's title was: "$385 / 2br - Quiet,Beautiful Layout,Lovely Garden,Grass Yard".

Wow! That's a steal of a deal. Now we approached this situation like most people do thinking that this offer, being too good to be true, was posted in one of two kinds of ways. The first, the poster is dumb. Yes, mean words but it is true. Every now and then someone does something ridiculous for their own reasons (or because they have no reason). The second, is the one who is out to get you and in some way take advantage of our greed. This is because it is human to want something for nothing, like the people crowding around the sample booths at Costco. (I'm guilty.) 

So, what do we do when a deal like this comes along? Well, we email him of course! We want to know the reasoning behind this fantastic offer. The email we received back was very vague and never addressed the questions we originally emailed the poster about. The email received was this:
Hi and thank you for your interest,
   My inbox was flooded today with inquiries so I'll do my best to answer some of the questions:
   1)       Cable, wireless internet, heat, water, and electricity are included in the monthly rental fee.
   2)       The security deposit amount depends on your credit score.
   3)       Move-in can begin as early as next month.
   4)       I haven't gotten around to taking more pictures yet but I will be taking groups of interested parties for showings later this week.
   Due to the overwhelming response I've included a preliminary rental application for any interested parties. I only want to converse with people who are serious about actually moving into this property. So if you are interested in a showing and further information, please fill out the attached application and email it to me so that I can get back to you soon.
   I look forward to hearing from you,
  Steve Madden
  Madden-Brooks Properties
My wife, being the smart woman she is, started Google searching the name Madden-Brooks properties. There are no viable results. One result on is now reporting this is a scam. I would agree. The email the sender uses is not from a business but a spoofed email. The email also included a PDF file of a rental application. The file asks for good sell-able data about you including your birthday, full name, email, phone number, previous address, credit score (with a link to, a forwarded domain with tracking pixel commonly used to track users on the internet).

Two major red flags for us were the fact that the original posting didn't list an address and that people couldn't see it until they filled out the application.

I am going to fill it out with bogus information and see if I get a reply from the sender using a free junk email address.

My advice to those looking for good deals online is to thoroughly check everything because good deals rarely happen. Please leave your comments if you have more information about this scam. Thanks.

Email of scammer:

Original posting:
Craigslist scam warning post: 

In case the posting has been removed, here is what the user posted:

* Air conditioning
* Central heat
* Fireplace
* High/Vaulted ceiling
* Walk-in closet
* Tile floor
* Dining room
* Breakfast nook
* Dishwasher
* Refrigerator
* Stove/Oven
* Microwave
* Granite countertop
* Washer Dryer
* Cable-ready
* High-speed internet
thnkxx for looking

Pictures used on the original post are below: 

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