“The time I thought I got scammed on craigslist” or “The time I had a roommate for 4 hours”

June 16, 2009

I recently was involved in what I think could have possibly been a very intricate craigslist scam, but I won’t really know until things start to disappear from my apartment. Now this assumption of being scammed could possibly be due to a high level of self-imposed paranoia, but it’s a creepy situation nonetheless. Let’s break it down from the start, shall we?

A young woman, who we’ll call Carrie for privacy purposes, came to my house last Saturday after responding to my craigslist ad about needing a roommate. Carrie was awesome: she worked for a HUGE television show (we’re talking a show I make a point to keep up with CONSISTENTLY) and was trying to get work on another one of my favorite shows as a location scout. She had a great little dog – who wasn’t a puppy – and was incredibly well behaved and sweet. Very self-sufficient little creature. We had a lot of similar interests and seemed like we’d get along really well.

We talked about the apartment, and I told her about the recent development with the roof deck (I’m still bitter about that) and showed her around. She asks about the wii, the cable, my computers (I had both sitting out from Josh’s recent visit), the intercom and alarm system, my camera… etc and so forth. She tells me she definitely wants to move in and can write me checks today because she has to move tomorrow.
Apparently, her landlord is giving everyone in her building 48 hours to move out without penalty because there’s a sex offender living in the apartment above her that she was not notified about. (She tells me he raped a 25 year old girl, not like an 18 year old who had sex with a 16 year old type of sex offender.) I mean, that’s an understandable reason for wanting to move so I start pulling paperwork together…

She’s got a convertible she wants to park in the back and I’m allowed to use it whenever I want (“I love it when my roommates drive my car!” – seriously) She tells me she wants to hook up a fax machine and get a land line because she’s constantly losing her cell phone (“I never keep more than 9 numbers saved in it because I know I’m going to lose it!”)

About an hour or so into our conversation she stops dead in her tracks.
“Oh my God,” she says. “My dad is sitting out in the car.”
The girl had left her dad in the car out front just hanging out for like an hour and a half. She calls him inside and they spend about 10 minutes walking around her room talking about where things will go. I give them a bit of privacy and print out lease stuff.

She asks me how much I need for her to move in. I tell her security and first months. She asks me about the last two weeks of this month and I tell her paying just this month instead of a full month’s rent is just fine. She writes the checks as if they’re nothing and signs the lease without reading it.

She leaves – they’re in a hurry – and I give her the keys and tell her I’ll see her when she moves in the next morning. I go out to dinner with a family friend, and while I’m out I deposit my check in the bank.

I arrive home (around 7:30) to an email:
“So I would have called you to talk to you about this but I don’t have your number. I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to move in. I was having second thoughts about the place after I left just because I feel like our schedules are too similar and it’d be rare that I’d actually get to spend any time home alone…time which I value.

So while I was weighing the pros and cons I re-read your post and realized that not only was there a realistic possibility that we wouldn’t get the roof deck access, but that your post also offered the rest of June for free**, except you charged me for the rest of June. I just think its kind of a bummer that you wouldn’t be upfront about the fact that you had even offered the free two weeks and it leaves me hesitant, actually it leaves me entirely unwilling to live with someone who would pull a “bait and swtich”.

I doubt you planned to be misleading but at the same time its curious and unfortunate to me that when I specifically asked you what dates I should put on the check for the first month you just hoped I wouldn’t notice/remember your offer in your post. And I don’t mean to suggest that you were obligated to offer two free weeks rent (I mean I realize its NYC) and I was perfectly willing to pay it, its just the misleading nature of how it was handled that leaves me unsettled.

I guess this leaves us both back at square one for settling our living situations but I noticed you haven’t taken your ad down yet so hopefully you’ll get a fitting response soon.

Best of luck in your search. I’d appreciate it if you could tear my checks in half and mail them to me so that my banking information isn’t floating around.

Again, sorry this didn’t work out I just feel like its not a great way to start a living arrangement.”

**In my ad, I offered to pro-rate part of June, but that’s basically under the condition that you move in with like a week left in June or something… not halfway through the month. Nobody can afford to give half a month of free rent.
***I also did not remember that I wrote this. I’ve been reposing the same ad for awhile now. MY BAD. The girl was throwing money at me. She was the one that volunteered half a month’s rent. I also told her from the MOMENT she walked in the deal with the roofdeck, which I found out about maybe 48 hours before. I didn’t change the ad, I’M SORRY. I was honest and up front about it from the get-go. Idiot.

And please, if you work 15 hour days, the likelihood of you getting “time alone” in the apartment would be rare, unless I worked a night job, which I definitely won’t be doing. Idiot.

Oh, and I had started to take down my ad, but she stayed so long at the apartment that I was late to my dinner appointment. I figured I would take it down later that night. Christ.

Anyway, I was pretty upset. I was basically being accused of being a liar by someone I don’t know for a bunch of bullshit reasons (and after much counseling from friends realized it’s probably best I don’t live with someone this crazy.) If I was really the asshole she thought I was, I should have kept her deposit – she SIGNED the lease, and I returned both of her checks. So basically deciding not to live with me breaks the lease and I should get to keep her deposit. But I didn’t, because I’m maybe a good person, contrary to what she thought.

After having a nice tantrum and trying to distract myself with VH1, I curled up into a little ball in my bed and called the one person I knew either wouldn’t answer or would say exactly all the right things…

By some act of GOD, Arlen answered his phone after about 4 rings. I thought it was his voicemail, but alas, it was not. I had reached the man, the myth, the legend.

We talked for about an hour… mostly about nonsense (“I don’t want to talk about beer pong for an hour! These are precious phone moments I do not want to waste on beer pong!”) but brightened up my day, a lot. It had been a rough one – saying bye to Josh, having that roommate fiasco, going out to dinner with fam friends… just an intense day for 5 hours of sleep. He talked me out of my mood, but then we both got super crazy as I started telling him about the roommate thing. Suddenly, we were both incredibly paranoid that this was actually a craigslist scam and they were copying my keys as we spoke…

So I started to take the evidence into account:
-Both times she opened the door to the apartment, she didn’t close it all the way. Couldn’t tell if she fucked with the latch or not.
-Her Dad sitting out in the car for an hour and a half and not calling her or anything? Weird.
-Asked about ALL of the electronics in my apartment. The cable box, the computers, camera, wii, etc. EVERYTHING.
-Watched me do the buzz-in process when I let her Dad in the apartment.
-The whole “I have to move” scenario. You really didn’t know there was a sex offender upstairs?
-Sounds like she moves a lot… but she’s originally from Park Slope (so she says.) Who in New York moves that much?
-Her job is so badass it didn’t sound real.

…And when she gave me back my keys, they were kind of greasy or something. Weird.

Arlen told me to get a deadbolt. Instead I locked the windows in the second bedroom and locked my door before I went to bed. They’re probably breaking into my apartment right now… haha.

What kept me from going batshit over the whole thing was that when she did drop off the keys, it did look like she was moving… the Uhaul was really full and I feel like staging that shit is a lot of work just to break into my apartment.

Regardless, she was highly suspicious. This is New York City. Who the fuck knows what’s going.

So yeah, that’s the time I had a roommate for about 4 hours or that time I maybe got scammed on craigslist.

Anyone looking for an apartment in NYC?


2 Responses to ““The time I thought I got scammed on craigslist” or “The time I had a roommate for 4 hours””

  1. rich said

    That is some really, really bizarre shit – I would definitely change the locks…but then again, I’m also hugely paranoid about security…luckily you got her to expose herself as quasi-batshit BEFORE you had to live with her for any period of time.

  2. […] few weekends ago where that girl signed a lease and in the end I thought she was a con artist (read HERE). Everyone was shocked at this and about half of them suggested I change my […]

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