I GOT SCAMMED IN A $4200 RENTAL FRAUD – WHAT DID IT TEACH ME?

APARTMENT HUNTING

Today I am going to tell you how I got scammed for 4200 dollars. That is equivalent to 27 000 NOK to my Norwegian readers. You are probably thinking “Who on earth could Alex have given 4200 dollars to?” Well, I am going to tell you. After almost two weeks back in Sydney I have been living like a nomad*. I have been couch-surfing three apartments, learned the morning routines of 20+ people, awkwardly forced myself to wake up before they did (so that none of them would have to witness me sleep with my mouth open), almost signed a contract to a rat-infested apartment with combined ten girls, fought with my boyfriend and had mosquitos and cockroaches suck the living juice out of me. Not having a place of my own made me pretty much desperate.

After a week, I received a direct mail to my inbox from a guy named Chris Bays. I assumed he had found my email through flatmates.com.au. This guy offered me a beautiful spacious apartment in Central Park for a ridiculously low rent. I was told he lived overseas, so he could not be there for me to inspect the apartment. However, TripAdvisor had given him an “Excellency Award”. Therefore, he chose to work with them rather than a local agency. TripAdvisor had this secure portal where I could make a two-month deposit. When the amount was transferred TripAdvisor would give me the keys to inspect the property myself. If I was not satisfied with the place the company would reimburse the entire amount.

scammer-2.jpg

THE RED FLAGS FOR DANGER

I got called by a hidden number claiming they were from TripAdvisor and the guy on the other end spoke perfect english. The website seemed legit with its own card payment section and had previous user recommendations. They told me through the phone that the amount I paid was higher than what their website allowed. Therefore, I had to make a bank transfer to their international bank in Greece. I do not want to worry about an expense that is so significant, so I am used to pay major payments such as rent and university fees upfront. Everything went so smooth and I even joked to my friends that “I might as well be scammed for all that I am aware of.” I should have trusted my gut instinct. It was a big transfer, but I figured I wanted to move in there anyways, so might as well pay to secure it. Biggest mistake ever.

Later that day I walked home and tried to look for my apartment that was supposedly on level seventeen. The building itself was nowhere to be found and if it was it was definitely not seventeen levels high. I went back onto the TripAdvisor page and truly understood what had happened. The entire website was fabricated, the phone numbers listed were disconnected, it was fake recommendations, fake photos and even the link was not real.

It was upsetting and I am human, so I gave myself five minutes to do what I do best – ugly cry. Since I was situated in the living room of an eight-people flat, I had to pull myself together. What I did afterwards was to call my bank and cancel my credit card. I also filed a report on the scam. I can not help but think that this could happen to anyone and if it did not happen to me now, it would probably be sometime in the future with the probability of an even larger amount. Who can know for sure?

RENTAL PROPERTY SCAM

The warning signs?

  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. The perfect apartment in the best area of the city offered way below the market price. I surely had to take this deal! Although the discount sounded really nice and it seems like a good idea to pay upfront, my advice is for you to not do it. If the market price is significantly higher, something is fishy.
  • No inspection / viewing can be made until deposit is transferred. Excuses after excuses.
  • The owner lives overseas. This guy was working in the mining industry and was going to live in New Zealand for four years. I can not believe that I assumed any owner would say yes to a person they never have met to move into their home.
  • In order to secure the property a two-month deposit has to be made via money transfer. In Australia they pay on a weekly basis and I did not understand the positivity in it before now. I am used to pay the full fee upfront, but I will not do the same mistake again. My advice is to rather pay as you go, because you never know what might happen.

THE KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM MY EXPERIENCE..

When I first came to a realisation what had happened to me, I had to smile at how well-done the scam was. I couldn’t even blame the people who had done this. Never did they threaten or push me into anything – It was solely my own choice to make the bank transfer after thinking I had found the apartment of my dreams.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, the first thing that came to my mind was that I could use this information and share it with you. I have the possibility to inform numerous of students and first-time renters about being sceptic and how to prevent themselves from scams. All the red flags that I had no idea about. I feel so bad for the deposit money that I had spent saving up on. I have a place to stay now, but I will have to do it all over again in a month. Life is not fair, haha. However, I do take responsibility for my own stupidity and can only hope that my story can be a helpful heads-up for someone else.

ATTIDUDE MATTERS

I am in Sydney, with less than $500, a cancelled credit card, far away from home and $4200 loss to scammers. Yet, I am not the slightest bit concerned. It might be my inexperience and youthful arrogance to life, but I know everything will be fine. If I knew the struggles I would face, in the crazy over-priced rent market in Sydney, I would never have ended my University Campus contract. But then I would not be chatting with you from level 28th at a high-rise building. Although it is only a short-term lease, I am happy. Moving out from campus was what I wanted for the longest time. No matter how hard the past two weeks have been mentally, the feeling of being content and accomplished has been well worth it.

I discussed with my Australian friend, Luke regarding this entire incident. He said something that reminds me of why I love the Sydney lifestyle and the values it has given me. With his perfect Australian attitude, he said;  “You will be alright, mate!”

Have you ever been in a similar situation?

  • nomad: a person that travels from place to place and has no permanent home.
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52 Comments

  • I’m so sorry this happened to you! I don’t know how I would be able to handle a situation like that. sending positive vibes your way <3

      • Hi Alexandra, I was doing some research for similar offer for lease I got from a guy based out of New Zealand. I was about to go ahead with that but reading your blog I realised that its a scam. Thanks for the sharing your story

      • And guys just to add-on to my previous blog, I received the mail from Phillip Hendriken and not from Chris. So be vigilant as the scamster is changing his modus operandi.

      • This is the email i just recieved I’m takin it as the same bloke…

        Good morning,

         The property based in 96 Woods Street, Darwin City 0800 is still available, clean and ready to be inhabited. What can I say about my place? Shortly, it counts with 3 BR, 2 bathrooms and 2 parking places. The rental agreement should be made for at least 6 months – up to four years for the monthly price of $1,400 which includes also the utilities.

         This property is among the few which won the prize of excellence offered by TripAdvisor in 2016 and for this reason I would be pleased to have it rented under their close supervision rather than using a local agency with higher fees and lots of requirements. Anyway, due to the fact that I’m traveling a lot with my work, I won’t be able to show it to you personally, but TripAdvisor is the best guarantor for this type of rentals. For your piece of mind, please take a look of how it works: 

        https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

          If all sounds good, you can go today and check the area and all the surroundings to see if the location suits your needs. Do not hesitate to touch base if this is what you’re looking for and tell me if you’re really interested for a longer period.

         Cheers,

         Phillip

        Thanks for posting ur post u may have saved the day for me thank u again xz

  • Damn, heldigvis har ikke noe sånt skjedd med meg! Jeg skjønner ikke hvorfor mennesker er sånn? Jeg blir så sint!!!

    Jeg håper du får pengene tilbake! <3

    • Da er vi to! Verden er ikke som man tror den er, og da er det viktig at man kjenner til situasjoner som dette tenker jeg.
      Det fikk jeg! Helt uendelig glad for det. Det gikk to uker der jeg trodde fra første stund at pengene var long gone, så er så utrolig takknemlig for at jeg får spart det på BSU 🙂 x

  • What an experience you’ve had. Thank you for sharing a potentially traumatising experience with us with all your flaws and glory. You seem like you’ve been brave and positive throughout the experience and thats what I’ve taken from your story. Your attitude about the whole situation is very inspiring.

    With that said, I hope your bank or insurance can cover the scam? But either way, det ordner seg! 🙂 <3

    • Hi Jenine,

      Yes it sure was a little nightmare, haha. Life must go on and I choose to be positive. So glad I made you aware of cases like this. and YES, today I got notified by my bank that they successfully stopped the transaction. I can not believe my stupidity got a second chance, haha. Det er godt å være norsk borger! x Wishing you a lovely day

  • Oh no! Thank God you’d blogged about it! The same Chris Bays who offered me a unit in St Kilda, Melbourne for a low price. Really curious about his excellence award and not placing the unit in real estate agency, so I searched his name and good thing I found your blog with his name. I knew it! It’s a scam! I feel sorry you experienced this. This unacceptable act should be reported to the authorities.

    • I can’t believe it! They are such snakes 🙁
      But I am BEYOND happy that I helped you! I am thrilled you found my post and was able to steer away from this shady deal. Helping one is enough for me to know that my stupidity was not fully gone to waste.

      TAKE CARE, HONEY! And good luck finding an apartment in Melbourne x

    • Hi Rae,

      I can’t believe that team. The goods news is that I figured it out early on, so my bank was able to get the entire amount that I got frauded for back. So happy I could help you guys out! Take care, and best of luck finding your home x

  • I’m so glad I trusted my gut {seems too good to be true so it probably is} and googled “Chris Bays” + “mining” only to ffind you and this article! I too have been approached by him in an area I’d been searching in for a rental property. I have sent expressions of interest/email enquiries about a number of properties so hard not to believe the story that he was sick of dealing with agents and this was just easier “because he was living in NZ for four years” … I’ll report this to TripAdvisor and also to the real estate agent who actually has this particular home on their books {and it is currently tennanted!!}. Sorry you lost your money. MJ

  • I am so glad I have done a search on this name and found your blog I have just received the same email asking for the full payment – shown me a TripAdvisor certify and says he works in mining away from home.
    You have saved a single mum a big loss. Thank you

    • Hi Honaida, glad I can help you out. This just proves that scams like these can happen to anyone – student, single mum or small family. It is definitely not something we get taught in school, its life education. So happy you found my post, good luck on finding a nice apartment for you and your kid x

  • Hi, same happend to me! I saw an apartment on domain, and the next day Chris Bays contact me by email.
    Thanks for your post, because we didn´t go through…it was too good to be true but we got so excited that its difficult to realize that it´s a scam.
    He had the same certificate that he sent you but with a different address.
    Thanks for the article!!!

    • Hi Maria,
      I am so happy you found my blog post before you proceeded with the payment. When I got scammed I had absolutely no idea and so I figured it would be great if someone stood out and told their story. Good luck on finding your dream apartment, Maria! All the best x

  • Hey Alex,

    So happy I found your blog, my friend believed me and prevented this whole situation.

    a friend of mine found his ad on Domain.com.au, and decided to contact him. he was advertising a 3bedroom flat in Pyrmont for only $550! when my friend ffirst told me, it was an immediate red flag, however she was so keen on the bargain. I told her its too good to be true, no one.. like no one ever! would rent their 3 bedroom apartment in Sydney no less for only $550! He still uses the same scam program. Please see email that he sent to my friend.

    EVERYONE! PLEASE BEWARE OF THIS SCAMMER!

    From: Chris Bays
    Date: April 4, 2017 at 8:24:17 PM GMT+10
    To: AXXXXXXX
    Subject: 50 Murray St, Pyrmont

    Hi XXXX,

    You can move in whenever you want without a problem! However, a viewing inside is actually not possible since I’m abroad, but using TripAdvisor system both parties are fully protected, because they will hold the funds until you will sign the lease agreement…of course that their fees will be covered by me, I already have an agreement with them regarding this matter.
    In order to get more info, please access the following link: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

    – the usual Fair Trading residential tenancy-landlord process, and agreements will still be in place even if transactions are made through trip advisor;
    TripAdvisor requests 2 months deposit, and everything is included in the monthly price (water, electricity and gas).
    – the 2 months deposit ( $4,400 ) covers the first month of rent plus one month the security deposit which is fully refundable at the end of the agreement or it can serve as a last month of rent;
    – after you will complete the booking online, and after you will deposit the funds through the TripAdvisor secure system, KeyExchange will provide you the keys so you can successfully make the viewing. In case there is something that you do not like, you can have a full refund in the same day, but I reassure you that the property is very beautiful and clean!

    If everything sounds good to you, I’m able to publish the property on their website so you can book it at your convenience.

    Thanks a lot!

    Chris

    CHRIS BAYS IS A SCAM.

    I am here to spread the word and not let anyone be a victim again 🙂

  • I HAVE NEARLY JUST BEEN SCAMMED BY THIS PERSON ALSO! Too good to be true apartment, Chris Bays exactly the same emails as Isha! GOOD JOB I DID MY RESEARCH

    Some horrible people in this world!

    • Hi John,
      So happy you found my post and did your proper research. I received the exact same email as well. So cruel, but I guess we just have to be more critical towards encounters like these as they happen all the time regardless of occassion. Take care and good luck on finding your future apartment x

  • Hi there.

    I am the founder of keyexchange the business that ‘Chris Bays’ notes in his email as the company that will deliver the keys. I have received three phone calls and two emails alone in the last week from people who have found his listings. I have never spoken to ‘Chris Bays’. I do not know who he is and my business is not affiliated with him in any way. I have relationships with all the homeowners that keyexchange currently works with and Chris Bays is not one of them.

    I really feel for you to have lost so much money but applaud your attitude in such an awful situation. Take care everyone – there are some bad people in this world!

    Kind Regards
    Brady Dennett
    keyexhange founder

  • Hello..

    I am searching for a beach-side apartment and got a similar mail from the same Chris Bays about a 2 bedroom apartment in Bondi beach for 550AUD. Am glad I found this blog. Does any of you have an idea about how to report such kind of people? Yeah we should be aware but how do we even report these kind of adverts to the rental sites so that they can apply some kind of deliberation and take the ad down themselves

  • Lucky I searched online and found this blog we just had the same add in Central Park and thought we should google search the same guy Chris bays we searched and found your blog hisemail is attached

    Hi.

    You can move in whenever you want without a problem! However, a viewing inside is actually not possible since I’m abroad, but using TripAdvisor system both parties are fully protected, because they will hold the funds until you will sign the lease agreement…of course that their fees will be covered by me, I already have an agreement with them regarding this matter.
    In order to get more info, please access the following link: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

    – the usual Fair Trading residential tenancy-landlord process, and agreements will still be in place even if transactions are made through trip advisor;
    TripAdvisor requests 2 months deposit, and everything is included in the monthly price (water, electricity and gas).
    – the 2 months deposit ( $4,800 ) covers the first month of rent plus one month the security deposit which is fully refundable at the end of the agreement or it can serve as a last month of rent;
    – after you will complete the booking online, and after you will deposit the funds through the TripAdvisor secure system, KeyExchange will provide you the keys so you can successfully make the viewing. In case there is something that you do not like, you can have a full refund in the same day, but I reassure you that the property is very beautiful and clean!

    If everything sounds good to you, I’m able to publish the property on their website so you can book it at your convenience.

    Thanks a lot!

    Chris.

  • If you have not already, please contact the police so they have a record of this. Unless it is reported, they cannot do anything about it. What a shit thing to happen.

    • Hi Nicole,

      I did contact the police, but did not hear from them regarding this. I do think it is getting out of hand and the problem has become an issue even they can not stop. The best I can do is make this post for more people to be aware and hopefully ffind on google.

      Kind regards,
      Alexandra Hoang

  • Thank you!!! Just almost happen with me right now!
    I just searched the name Chris Bays and appeared your website! Thank you for this advice! And Im so sorry what happened with you!

  • We had the same email with our search in Sydney. Thanks Alexandra for posting this. It confirmed our suspicions.

    I am also posting his email address in case someone googles with his email as we did initially

    chris.wil099@gmail.com

  • Good work Alex on this blog, Chris is still active:

    Chris Bays
    Attachments3:48 AM (18 hours ago)

    to me
    Good morning,

    The property based in 42/1 Collins Street, Hobart 7000 is still available, clean and ready to be inhabited. What can I say about my place? Shortly, it counts with 2 BR, 2 bathrooms and 1 parking place. The rental agreement should be made for at least 6 months – up to four years for the monthly price of $1,200 which includes also the utilities.

    This property is among the few which won the prize of excellence offered by TripAdvisor in 2016 and for this reason I would be pleased to have it rented under their close supervision rather than using a local agency with higher fees and lots of requirements. Anyway, due to the fact that I’m traveling a lot with my work, I won’t be able to show it to you personally, but TripAdvisor is the best guarantor for this type of rentals. For your piece of mind, please take a look of how it works:

    https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

    If all sounds good, you can go today and check the area and all the surroundings to see if the location suits your needs. Do not hesitate to touch base if this is what you’re looking for and tell me if you’re really interested for a longer period.

    You can move in whenever you want without a problem! However, a viewing inside is actually not possible since I’m abroad, but using TripAdvisor system both parties are fully protected, because they will hold the funds until you will sign the lease agreement…of course that their fees will be covered by me, I already have an agreement with them regarding this matter.
    In order to get more info, please access the following link: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

    – white goods included, NBN is connected and there is a lot storage space for a bike;
    – the usual Fair Trading residential tenancy-landlord process, and agreements will still be in place even if transactions are made through trip advisor;
    TripAdvisor requests 2 months deposit, and everything is included in the monthly price (water, electricity and gas).
    – the 2 months deposit ( $2,400 ) covers the first month of rent plus one month the security deposit which is fully refundable at the end of the agreement or it can serve as a last month of rent;
    – after you will complete the booking online, and after you will deposit the funds through the TripAdvisor secure system, KeyExchange will provide you the keys so you can successfully make the viewing. In case there is something that you do not like, you can have a full refund in the same day, but I reassure you that the property is very beautiful and clean!

    If everything sounds good to you, I’m able to publish the property on their website so you can book it at your convenience.

    Thanks a lot!

    Chris

    +64 9888 0724

  • He is at it again 😤

    Was on Domain, then he removed!!

    Have had several emails, and just too many red flags !! Started to google 👍

    Disgusting CONDUCT 😡

    Chris Bays

    Hi Joe,

     I do agree with you move in date if you’ll take it for minimum 2 years, but I will be more than happy if you will secure the reservation this week so I can be sure about your further intentions.
     The apartment counts with ADSL on my name, but if you like it to have it on your own name, we can change it without a problem.

     For a better understanding, I’m going to explain you the whole process step by step:

     So I just wanted to confirm the process with you in order to be completely clear with the lease agreement process.

    – I will list the property on TripAdvisor.
    – You will then apply/book for the property online.
    – I will then accept the request online.
    – You then deposit the money onto the TripAdvisor payment platform who will hold the money till the lease is officially signed (after the viewing).

    – I will organise for the people from KeyExchange to come and pass you the keys.
    – You will inspect the place with them around.
    – After inspection, KeyExchange will pass you the lease agreement to sign.
    – If the viewing all goes well as expected then the lease will be finalised however if it is not as expected for some reason the money will be refunded by TripAdvisor in the same day.

     For example, if you book and pay the deposit this evening, you will be able to schedule the viewing starting with Friday in the morning…it takes about 48 hours for them to process and secure the deposit.

     Please let me know when you’re prepared to proceed and we will take it from there.

     Greetings,

     Chris

    +64 9888 0724

  • Thank god for this blog! I got an email too and it was way too good to be true! Watch out Melbourne renters for a Phillip!

    • I received an offer from hendriken.philip@gmail.com too for a flat on Penkivil Street, Bondi.
      Here is his message. Be careful people!

      Good morning,

      The property based in 22-28 Penkivil Street, Bondi 2026 is still available, clean and ready to be inhabited. What can I say about my place? Shortly, it counts with 2 BR, 1 bathroom and 1 parking place. The rental agreement should be made for at least 6 months – up to four years for the monthly price of $2,200 which includes also the utilities.

      This property is among the few which won the prize of excellence offered by TripAdvisor in 2016 and for this reason I would be pleased to have it rented under their close supervision rather than using a local agency with higher fees and lots of requirements. Anyway, due to the fact that I’m traveling a lot with my work, I won’t be able to show it to you personally, but TripAdvisor is the best guarantor for this type of rentals. For your piece of mind, please take a look of how it works:

      https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

      If all sounds good, you can go today and check the area and all the surroundings to see if the location suits your needs. Do not hesitate to touch base if this is what you’re looking for and tell me if you’re really interested for a longer period.

      Cheers,

      Phillip

    • Thank you Federica. I also reported him on the same scamwatch website, but have yet to hear from the police. I guess this matter is so big its getting out of hand, so the best thing would be to raise awareness around it through our own networks.

  • Hi guys, be careful of Adrian & Elisa Carrabau +64 9888 0724. Now they pretent to be a family :)) see email and property below:

    Good evening,

    The property based in 22-28 Penkivil Street, Bondi 2026 is still available, clean and ready to be inhabited. What can I say about my place? Shortly, it counts with 2 BR, 1 bathroom and 1 parking place. The rental agreement should be made for at least 6 months – up to four years for the monthly price of $2,000 which includes also the utilities.
    I have attached you several pictures as requested, to see if it meets your requirements. You can go anytime and check the area and the surroundings to see if the location suits your needs.

    Do not hesitate to touch base if this is what you’re looking for and tell me if you’re really interested for a longer period.

    Cheers,

    Adrian Carrabau

    The place is fully furnished, but you can have it unfurnished or partially furnished as well for the same monthly price.

    We’re also owning 2 villas in NZ and from May to December we live here to manage the reservations properly due to the high volume of clients. To save a lot of time and money with showing around the places to every interested or not really interested person, all the other properties are now managed through tripadvisor and other online portals with instant booking.

    This property is among the few which won the prize of excellence offered by TripAdvisor in 2016 and for this reason I would be pleased to have it rented under their close supervision. As well, if the booking is made through Tripadvisor system, they will guarantee me the integrity of the tenants during their occupation.

    Full rates:

    – minimum agreement accepted is 6 months;
    – Monthly: $2,000 ( utilities included );
    – Bond / Security Deposit: $2,000 ( fully refundable at the end of the agreement )
    – Parking: FREE
    – Internet/WiFi: FREE
    – The usual Fair Trading residential tenancy-landlord process, and agreements will still be in place even if transactions are made through tripadvisor;

    In case you’ve never booked online until now and for your piece of mind I’m going to give you the direct link with how it works and how protected are we:

    https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

    Please take your time to revise it and let me know your further intentions. After you will complete the booking online, in less than 48 hours KeyExchange will provide you the keys so you can successfully make the viewing. In case there is something that you do not like, you can apply for a full refund in the same day, but I reassure you that the property is exactly as described and detailed in the photos!

    Sincerely,

    Adrian & Elisa Carrabau

    +64 9888 0724

    • Hi Lina 😉

      I’ve just had an email from an Adrian Carrabau – I’m trying to remember if I’d contacted someone on Gumtree or not… What was your experience with ‘him’ ?

      Thanks
      Lauren

  • Hi Alexandra,

    Your blog is very helpful against that scammer guy, he is still trying hard, This is what he just wrote to me.

    Great to hear from you Jose!

    The place is fully furnished, but you can have it unfurnished or partially furnished as well for the same monthly price.

    We’re also owning 2 villas in NZ and from May to December we live here to manage the reservations properly due to the high volume of clients. To save a lot of time and money with showing around the places to every interested or not really interested person, all the other properties are now managed through tripadvisor and other online portals with instant booking.

    This property is among the few which won the prize of excellence offered by TripAdvisor in 2016 and for this reason I would be pleased to have it rented under their close supervision. As well, if the booking is made through Tripadvisor system, they will guarantee me the integrity of the tenants during their occupation.

    Full rates:

    – minimum agreement accepted is 6 months;
    – Monthly: $2,200 ( utilities included );
    – Bond / Security Deposit: $2,200 ( fully refundable at the end of the agreement )
    – Parking: FREE
    – Internet/WiFi: FREE
    – The usual Fair Trading residential tenancy-landlord process, and agreements will still be in place even if transactions are made through tripadvisor;

    In case you’ve never booked online until now and for your piece of mind I’m going to give you the direct link with how it works and how protected are we:

    https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

    Please take your time to revise it and let me know your further intentions. After you will complete the booking online, in less than 48 hours KeyExchange will provide you the keys so you can successfully make the viewing. In case there is something that you do not like, you can apply for a full refund in the same day, but I reassure you that the property is exactly as described and detailed in the photos!

    Sincerely,

    Adrian & Elisa Carrabau

    +64 9888 0724

    • How do we report these low life scum bags for wasting our time and immoral / unethical behaviour?

      I’m currently in contact with Adrian and Google searched his name when I found this blog. They deserve to go to jail.

      Re:

      From: Adrian Carrabau
      Date: Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 10:05 PM
      Subject: Re: 10 Atchison Street St, Leonards 2065
      To: Jude Borromeo

      Great to hear from you Jude!

      The place is fully furnished, but you can have it unfurnished or partially furnished as well for the same monthly price.

      We’re also owning 2 villas in NZ and from May to December we live here to manage the reservations properly due to the high volume of clients. To save a lot of time and money with showing around the places to every interested or not really interested person, all the other properties are now managed through tripadvisor and other online portals with instant booking.

      This property is among the few which won the prize of excellence offered by TripAdvisor in 2016 and for this reason I would be pleased to have it rented under their close supervision. As well, if the booking is made through Tripadvisor system, they will guarantee me the integrity of the tenants during their occupation.

      Full rates:

      – minimum agreement accepted is 6 months;
      – Monthly: $2,200 ( utilities included );
      – Bond / Security Deposit: $2,200 ( fully refundable at the end of the agreement )
      – Parking: FREE
      – Internet/WiFi: FREE
      – The usual Fair Trading residential tenancy-landlord process, and agreements will still be in place even if transactions are made through tripadvisor;

      In case you’ve never booked online until now and for your piece of mind I’m going to give you the direct link with how it works and how protected are we:

      https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/pages/payment_protection_general.html

      Please take your time to revise it and let me know your further intentions. After you will complete the booking online, in less than 48 hours KeyExchange will provide you the keys so you can successfully make the viewing. In case there is something that you do not like, you can apply for a full refund in the same day, but I reassure you that the property is exactly as described and detailed in the photos!

  • The scammers are still at it.

    We received this one today. Thanks to this blog, scam avoided!

    ——————————————————————————————————-

    Hi,
    For a better understanding, I’m going to explain you the whole process step by step:

    So I just wanted to confirm the process with you in order to be completely clear with the lease agreement process.

    – I will forward you the reservation request through TripAdvisor.
    – You will then apply/book for the property online.
    – I will then accept the request online.
    – You then deposit the money onto the TripAdvisor payment platform who will hold the money till the lease is officially signed (after the viewing).

    – I will organise for the people from KeyExchange to pass you the keys.
    – You will inspect the place with them around.
    – After inspection, KeyExchange will pass you the lease agreement to sign.
    – If the viewing all goes well as expected then the lease will be finalised however if it is not as expected for some reason the money will be refunded by TripAdvisor in the same day.

    For example, if you book and pay the deposit today, you will be able to schedule the viewing starting with Monday…it takes about 2 working days for them to process and secure the deposit.

    Please let me know when you’re prepared to proceed and we will take it from there.

    Greetings,

    Adrian & Elisa Carrabau
    +64 9888 0724

  • Exactly the same email receuved from Arian and Elisa yesterday.
    Thanks for the heads up everyone!!

  • I received exactly the same email from Adrian & Elisa Carrabau. I even tried to call to discuss as I was really tempted (went to automated voicemail).
    Thanks to everyone for their contribution as I have saved time, cash and excitement over a scam apartment.

  • Hi guys I received the same email regarding a property in Darlinghurst, was way to cheap to be real! He went by the name Adrian Carrabau

  • Hi guys, just got this one from them. Thanks a lot!

    Good morning,

    The property based in 803 Anzac Parade, Maroubra 2035 is still available, clean and ready to be inhabited. What can I say about my place? Shortly, it counts with 2 BR, 2 bathrooms and 1 parking place. The rental agreement should be made for at least 6 months – up to four years for the monthly price of $2,200 which includes also the utilities.
    I have attached you several pictures as requested, to see if it meets your requirements. You can go anytime and check the area and the surroundings to see if the location suits your needs.

    Do not hesitate to touch base if this is what you’re looking for and tell me if you’re really interested for a longer period.

    Cheers,

    Adrian Carrabau

  • I received the following last week, seemed too good to be true.. Thanks everyone who contributed here. Is there police or someone who this can be reported to?

    He sent from this email address: carrabau.adrian@gmail.com

    Good morning,

    The property based in 10 Atchison Street St, Leonards 2065 is still available, clean and ready to be inhabited. What can I say about my place? Shortly, it counts with 2 BR, 2 bathrooms and 2 parking place. The rental agreement should be made for at least 6 months – up to four years for the monthly price of $2,200 which includes also the utilities.
    I have attached you several pictures as requested, to see if it meets your requirements. You can go anytime and check the area and the surroundings to see if the location suits your needs.

    Do not hesitate to touch base if this is what you’re looking for and tell me if you’re really interested for a longer period.

    Cheers,

    Adrian Carrabau

  • Hi Alexandra, thanks for flagging this up and warning others. I work for TripAdvisor Rentals and we were very concerned to learn of your experience – we’re sorry you went through this!

    We had our Trust & Safety team complete a thorough investigation, and they’ve determined you were likely the victim of an email phishing scam through the site you mention. It’s not connected to TripAdvisor, and our sites remain safe and secure.

    Unfortunately, scammers are hard at work all across the internet. We thankfully don’t hear about scams like this too often, but we’d like help your readers protect themselves with a few tips:

    1. You can only find TripAdvisor homeowners through TripAdvisor. If you come into contact with a homeowner claiming to be affiliated with TripAdvisor and the conversation was initiated on a site other than TripAdvisor (or one of our subsidiary sites: HouseTrip, Niumba, FlipKey, Holiday Lettings or Vacation Home Rentals), cease communication. A section of TripAdvisor is dedicated to vacation rentals (found by going to TripAdvisor.com and clicking on the ‘Vacation Rentals’ tab or going directly to http://www.TripAdvisorRentals.com) where you can browse our listings and use our secure messaging platform to communicate safely with legitimate owners.

    2. Always book through our online check-out. Travellers can best protect themselves by paying through TripAdvisor Rentals’ secure payment platform, by card or PayPal, which works like any standard online check-out. Any property booked through our sites automatically receives our payment protection. This safeguards a traveller’s payment against a number of circumstances, including fraud. The majority of vacation rentals on our sites can be booked with payment protection and are identified by large badge on their listing.

    3. Never pay by bank wire or transfer. Always choose a secure form of payment, like credit card or PayPal.

    4. If you’re concerned about a listing, let us know. You can reach us on book.safe@tripadvisor.com and we’re always happy to help.

    For more information on safe booking, see this https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalsBlog/2017/03/24/book-vacation-rental-safely-stress-free-summer/.

    Again, Alexandra, we’re really sorry about your experience and can’t imagine how stressful it must’ve been. We hope you ended up with a great place in Sydney in the end!

    Best,
    Laurel

  • I was recently scammed $3750 as well due to my stupidity and being so naive and good hearted I guess. Sucks that innocent people like us are taken advantage of. At least you got your money back! I was trying to get a new roommate to move in with me who was supposedly studying in another state so I was consulting with her “father” most of the time about the money which was sent to me in a fraud check which I deposited into my bank account. He told me to send money to the “car dealer” numerous times and stupid me actually did the transactions through money order to multiple different locations. Sigh… Thank god for having a checking and savings account. The only thing we can do is move on and do better! haha

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