Rent scam SMS: Look out, look out the fake landord's about!

Travel | by Aimee Groom
Posted: December 3rd, 2012 | Updated: December 3rd, 2012 | Comments
This one is for all you China expats out there! If you receive this text message  from an unknown number, ignore it, it's just another China scam: 你好,我是房东!我现在在外地,这次房租请打到我爱人工行上:622202-1901016-171678 李昊旻,好了回信告知 I showed it to a colleague who said: "Maybe your landlord is away and you must pay your rent to a different account." That's where the plot thickens.... Ding-dong, warning bells!! This really should be a no-brainer: Ignore messages in Chinese from numbers you don't know, don't call back unfamiliar numbers as you might end up on a credit sucking scam line, all this I know and in general, abide by, BUT, and here's the kicker... the timing was perfect. My landlord was away in the States and we had been in touch about this month's rent with some confusion about who I should be paying (a long story which involves a a broken water pipe, a flooded neighbor and an irate workman). I didn't pay it—cue an almost audible sigh of relief and the thought: "Phew, that would have been really stupid"—and later googled the bank account number which rendered a few results from Weibo by similarly confused renters. So, yes it is a scam. Yes, it is one that no-one should ever fall for, but if they catch you at the right, thoughtless moment then it's entirely possible that you could. I was almost that person, don't let it be you.
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