Tuesday, April 28, 2009

eRentalApplications.com Scam

I recently posted an ad on seattle.craigslist.com advertizing a property I have for rent. Someone notified me that my property was posted for rent with two ads with two different prices and thought perhaps I had made a mistake. I went to check and it turned out that the second ad was posted by someone else and could only be contacted by anonymous Craigslist email and they were listing my property for rent about $200 below the price I was asking.

I sent email pretending to want to rent the property. This is the email I got back from EmilyThomas40@gmail.com.

Hello

Deposit is the same as rent amount. Please go to www.eRentalApplications.com to fill out a basic rental application to check tenant history, references, and verify employment. Your social security is NOT REQUIRED and YOUR CREDIT WILL NOT BE PULLED at this time. After the application will be reviewed you will be contacted to set up time to see the property. The process is simple. Just use the following steps and within minutes your application will be forwarded for review.
Go to www.eRentalApplications.com and follow these steps:
1. On the homepage click on the “APPLY TODAY” button
2. Find the property address (for which you will be applying)
3. Fill out the application
4. Pending approval you will be contacted regarding your application
as soon as possible

Thanks.

It’s highly probably that the information collected will be used for identity theft purposes. I wasn’t about to fill out the online form to find out. I turned the information over to my local police department instead.

So what are the morals of the story?

1) If it’s too good to be true is probably isn't true. My property was listed about $200 below market value.

2) The best lies contain a significant amount of truth. The property was real and it really was for rent. Anyone could drive by the listed address and verify that it was for rent.

37 Comments:

At 1:22 PM, May 04, 2009, Blogger Lord Runolfr said...

Did you also report the ad to Craigslist? I think they try to prevent bogus advertising of that sort.

Here's hoping you get a good tenant without any difficulties.

 
At 4:16 PM, May 04, 2009, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

Thanks Lord Runolfr,

I did flag the post and report the scam to Craigslist. I didn't hear back from them but they probably have some automated way to deal with this type of crap. However, it is probably easy to work around for a persistent scammer and these guys look professional.

I tried to report the scam at the Federal Trade Commision website, but the online wizard they use to help people report identity theft scams didn't allow me to enter the information correctly. Whoever wrote that wizard needs to be knocked over the head.

 
At 8:24 PM, June 12, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had same scam on my rental house. This created confusion with potential tenants as well as some harassment of current tenants. The company that host this website, CrystalTech Web Hosting Inc., has been contacted as well as Craigslist, and local authorities. They were very helpful and seems this fraudulent company, Linskiy Company, LLC, as well as their web site will be shutdown shortly.

Info on web hosting company...
OrgName: CrystalTech Web Hosting Inc.
OrgID: CRTW
Address: 6135 N. 7th St
City: Phoenix
StateProv: AZ
PostalCode: 85014
Country: US

NetRange: 67.199.0.0 - 67.199.127.255
CIDR: 67.199.0.0/17
NetName: CRYSTALTECH-BLK-8
NetHandle: NET-67-199-0-0-1
Parent: NET-67-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Allocation
NameServer: NS1.WEBCONTROLCENTER.COM
NameServer: NS2.WEBCONTROLCENTER.COM
Comment:
RegDate: 2007-06-29
Updated: 2008-04-03

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE842-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-602-263-0300
OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@crystaltech.com

OrgTechHandle: TU22-ARIN
OrgTechName: Uzzanti, Tim
OrgTechPhone: +1-602-263-0300
OrgTechEmail: support@crystaltech.com

I am currently pursuing a lawsuit against Linskiy Company, LLC, for damages related to their nefarious activities that has cost my company valuable time and monetary damages. Hopefully I will put these guys to rest...

 
At 11:34 PM, June 12, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contact web site owner of erentalapplications.com

Nikolay Linskiy
916-200-8632

 
At 6:46 PM, June 23, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they are alive and well in the milwaukee, kenosha, fond du lac and sheboygan areas on craigslist.com.

they pulled this scam on a property just two blocks from my house -- yup, exactly 2 blocks. Poor potential landlord :(

craigslist.com needs to put a filter against that application.

 
At 11:57 AM, June 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're pulling this in Austin TX as well...email responses coming from savannahquanyxlvs@gmail.com -- dropping housing prices $1000. Nice.

 
At 2:53 PM, June 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in Denver, they copied my rental listing as well.

 
At 10:45 PM, June 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are now in Seattle, WA too.

 
At 10:45 AM, June 26, 2009, Blogger Mark McAdams said...

And mine in Pittsburgh....many times. This company is so fraudulent. I have reported them to the local authorities, the FBI, the FTC as well as Craigslist and still to no avail. I wish they would disable their web hosting immediately.

 
At 12:34 PM, June 29, 2009, Blogger Lo Lo said...

Thanks for the tip! I was house-hunting this weekend and got lured in. Just notified the folks at Craigslist. SO glad I Googled their website before we went any further!

 
At 4:51 PM, June 29, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! We just ran into the same scam on a listing here in Richmond, Googled "erentalapplication" and found your blog.

Called real poster to let them know, and flagged for Craigslist.

Unbelievable! Thanks again for posting!

fake:
http://richmond.craigslist.org/apa/1244932330.html

real:
http://richmond.craigslist.org/apa/1219404611.html

 
At 5:11 PM, July 01, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really glad you posted this! I just ran into the same scam on a few listings here in Indianapolis, IN. I Googled "erentalapplication"scam and found your blog.

 
At 8:34 PM, July 01, 2009, Blogger J said...

Randy,
My name is Jesse Jones
can you shoot me an email about this at jjones@king5.com

Thanks

 
At 1:09 AM, July 06, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
Someone posted an ad on craigslist saying that eRentalApplications.com is a scam, thanks to that ad and your blog I avoided getting caught up in it. I emailed about an ad posted on Seattle's craigslist and got a response from a Bobbie Wiggins at bobbiewigginslm92@gmail.com. It's the fifth fake posting I've come across in two weeks, each one seeming to be from a different group of scammers... the search goes on.

 
At 12:23 PM, July 07, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a total scam!! According the California Secretary of State, the company is:

Linskiy Company, LLC
1911 Douglas Blvd, #85-347
Roseville, CA 95661

The name of the owner is "Nikolay Linskiy." He apparently owns another company by the name of "Linskiy Enterprises, Inc" located in Sacramento.

I too have sent an email to CrystalTech asking them to remove the web page. Someone should contact the Placer County Sheriff's department and see if they will open a criminal investigation.

Good luck to those trying to shut these people down!!

 
At 3:45 PM, July 07, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank your for your blog post. I've received emails from them for 3 different houses at Chicago suburbs. I've sent complaints to their hosting company : abuse@crystaltech.com, support@crystaltech.com, customerservice@crystaltech.com

and legal@craigslist.org

 
At 7:18 AM, July 08, 2009, Blogger Gail said...

Same thing happened to me yesterday. I noticed that my ad for a rental had been posted again, below what I was asking so I emailed a query, as though a potential tenant, and got the same e-mail and directions to erentalapplications.com.
Do the police actually care about this? Has anyone reported it to craigslist and heard back?

 
At 11:54 AM, July 08, 2009, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

I don't think the police do care and I don't know why. It seems that the police in Everett are busy with tax collection (by giving out tickets to people that don't wear seat belts) and voyeurism (investigating strip clubs and massage parlors).

I got no response from craigslist either. I am not sure what they could do. Actually if they started charging a modest fee to place rental ads it would probably help.

 
At 9:24 AM, July 09, 2009, Anonymous joolz said...

Hi, I had a similar experience when looking for a new place and after reading your blog and a number of other reports wrote a similar post about my experience : http://propertymanagementnation.com/2009/06/08/just-say-no-to-erentalapplications-com/. Recently, I just received a comment from someone saying they were a real property manager and legitimately used the erentalapplications site. Has anyone else come across this? All I have ever heard is the site is a scam.

 
At 12:28 PM, July 09, 2009, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

Hi Joolz,

It could be that the commenter lied to you about being a landlord that uses ERentalApplications.com. However, I think it is more likely that ERentalApplications.com is playing both sides of the scam. They probably aren't properly vetting applicants by actually running their credit reports. You could say this landlord has been dupped into becomming a frontman for ERentalApplications.com without even knowing it.

 
At 12:35 PM, July 10, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I responded to an ad for a rental in Snohomish and I also received an email from joshuaatvb@gmail.com, asking me to fill out an application at erentalapplication.com. This was the second time I responded to an ad and received the direction to go to this website. Of course I declined, and flagged the listing on CL. Jesse Jones of King 5 wrote an article about this scam.

http://www.king5.com/localnews/getjesse/stories/NW_070809GJB-erentalapplications-KC.20cfffb8.html

-Renee'

 
At 2:00 PM, July 11, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We looked up a suspiciously cheap house for rent in Stephenson Ranch, CA through the craiglist and received the same email directing to the erentalapplication.com page. You pay 14.95 and give away your personal information to Nikolai Linsky. How cool... However, has it crossed anybody's mind that it was actually craiglist who organized the scam? Linsky may be just their front man, if he exists at all. Would love to get in touch with him.

 
At 5:48 AM, July 13, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a property manager in the Nashville area. I an others are experiencing the same problem. I have so far reported them to the real estate commission and PayPal. We are also putting watermarks on our photos so no one else can use them.

 
At 4:42 PM, July 15, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They just got me. Something didn't smell right with this one. I'm military just getting back from overseas and looking for a place to live and I got suckered into this one. We'll see how this turns out. Watch our for this one!

http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/apa/1264948481.html

 
At 9:32 AM, July 16, 2009, Blogger Faith said...

These jerks are taking over TN rental listings as well! It is very annoying! I am in Murfreesboro, TN just outside of Nashville. I keep coming across their page every time I find a property that I am interested in. I don't have time for this!!

 
At 11:37 AM, July 23, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know someone else already said this, but thanks for this posting! I saw a place in the Los Angeles area that seemed too good to be true (it was renting for $1200 when similar rents in the area are $1800+) and I googled erentalapplications and found your post. Thanks for saving me a potential headache!

 
At 11:08 AM, July 25, 2009, Blogger Shaun said...

wekk they have also brought their underground business to Jacksonville also...seems no matter what it is on CL ne more it ends up being spam or SCAM

 
At 6:20 AM, July 29, 2009, Anonymous Amy S said...

TAMPA AREA- I too have had my listings posted again for $110's less. Many people have called me after driving by the property wanting to rent it for that price. I have to tell them it is a scam. Since they just seem to copy our listings from craigslist maybe if we put in the description that this posting is only legitimate if it contains our name and real estate company and to please contact us directly it would at least circumvent some of the replies that may be going to them?

 
At 8:42 AM, July 29, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fell for this just last week. I'm not sure with the info I gave what damage he can do. I had to change password for my paypal. I called my bank and they are watching for any out of state charges and will not let them go through. I'm just mad at myself for falling for this scam. I've written to the BBB.

 
At 11:21 PM, July 30, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens if you partially complete the "application" and figure out mid-way it could be a scam? Do they have access to your info if you leave the site before completing it?

Thanks,
Close call

 
At 2:36 PM, August 03, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Update... This website (erentalapplications.com) is still alive and well at Crystaltech Web Hosting Inc. I spoke with Jessica Leonardo. She is the sole person in charge of the Legal Dept. for the company. She told me that all they currently have is allegations and that they have NOT received a subpoena.

They will not bring down the site or even investigate the validity of the allegations until they receive a subpoena. I'm not sure that this is even the right course of action as they could easily transfer the content to another hosting provider.

Can anyone else speak to whether legal action is being taken or further details? I'm tired of folks showing up at my door to rent my house while I am trying to get work done.

 
At 4:28 PM, August 03, 2009, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

It seems to me that getting their PayPal account canceled may be a more permanent solution than getting their web service provider to drop them. Send your complaint to PayPal.

 
At 9:58 AM, August 04, 2009, Anonymous Ty said...

Thanks everyone. I just ran inton this in Denver, Co. Seemed fishy to me so I googled them and found this. Probably saved me a lot of frustration.

 
At 6:33 PM, August 06, 2009, Anonymous JT said...

Just got this "erentalapplications.com" scam email from a Golden, CO property. Frustrating!

 
At 9:30 PM, September 10, 2009, Anonymous Barry said...

From Castle Rock, CO - we've submitted them to the FTC along with the emails that they have sent back. I've contacted them multiple times to remove our properties and they did within 24 hrs up to 2 weeks. I'm not sure what the FTC did but the site went inactive for a couple of weeks. Then I noticed that it came back up for a couple of weeks in a select number of states (not including CO). I checked again tonight and it is inactive again.

 
At 6:20 PM, October 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used "erentalapplications.com for a rental in the Charlotte, NC area. After a $14.95 fee and several emails to know the status of the application, I received nothing. This was in early August. I googled "erentalapplications.com" tonight and found your blog. Wish I would have done that two months ago. I thought I couldn't be scammed but I was wrong. I guess you have to google everything you do on the internet these days.

 
At 6:32 PM, July 15, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received a hand written letter from nikolay linskiy. "i am interested in buying your house located ta (the address of my house is sacramento). I would like to make you a cash offer for it. I can close escrow in 10-15 business days and will pay all the title and escrow fees. There is no realtor involved. This means you will not have to pay any commissions to anyone. If you would like to sell your house, please call or text me at (916) 502-5895 or email me at linskiy@gmail.com

I called the number and there was the standard computer voice for leaving a voicemail.

 

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