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Old 05-13-2020, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,556 posts, read 13,550,608 times
Reputation: 4427

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Yup. Admitting I was an idiot and got sucked into a rental scam. And yes, craigslist. Police reports have been filed, Bank of America fraud department contacted, and our credit union told.

Communication with the "property manager" was through email. I was given a Bank of America account number and routing number to transfer the funds (1st month, security deposit $3000 ... choke), but I chose to write a paper check and deposit it in a brick-n-mortar branch, handing the check to the teller.

Because I "willingly" deposited the funds, as opposed to someone stealing my debit/credit card and using it, the bank really won't do anything. The police can't do much, although they would love to catch the scammer.

I am always a cautious one, believing if something is too good to be true then it's not for real. But zero red flags went up at all, maybe because of the seemingly legitimacy of the money going into a real bank and not being wired by Western Union or some such. The red flag finally went up after our check cleared and the scammer said I owed $2000 more for renters insurance to be sent to yet a different BoA account with a different routing number.

I cannot make heads or tails out of the email details other than aol/yahoo servers were used. (It was an aol address.) The scammer did use an android phone, and the detail does list the browsers, apps, and so forth that were used.

The bulk of the details are long strings of letters and numbers that make no sense to me, but would to a knowledgable tech person. Can these details show an actual location of where a person is when sending/receiving email on a cell phone, like trail that could be followed? Or could an aol user be anywhere in the world, but because the aol/yahoo server is in CA all details point to CA?

When I google the name and email of the "property manager" and the names on the bank accounts, I don't find much to connect. Would a deeper search of the web find this person/people? I am sure I was not the first sucker, and I will guess he/she/they have another sucker on the hook right now.

I would rather not chalk up this fraud to an expensive lesson learned although it looks like that is what has happened.
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:06 AM
 
41,823 posts, read 45,148,950 times
Reputation: 17751
Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post

I cannot make heads or tails out of the email details other than aol/yahoo servers were used. (It was an aol address.) The scammer did use an android phone, and the detail does list the browsers, apps, and so forth that were used.

Even if the email has the originating IP of the sender or you were able to obtain it from AOL this is likely dead end as far as scammers go. They will be using public wi-fi, a compromised machine, VPN, TOR etc. If you search for "email header analyzer" there is various tools that will analyze the header and give you more human readable info.

What I would find odd is law enforcement can't get any information from the bank. There must be a paper trail a mile wide for the account and it's activity. I realize they may not divulge that information without a warrant but nonetheless there should be some kind of trail even if it's a dead end.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,556 posts, read 13,550,608 times
Reputation: 4427
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Even if the email has the originating IP of the sender or you were able to obtain it from AOL this is likely dead end as far as scammers go. They will be using public wi-fi, a compromised machine, VPN, TOR etc. If you search for "email header analyzer" there is various tools that will analyze the header and give you more human readable info.

What I would find odd is law enforcement can't get any information from the bank. There must be a paper trail a mile wide for the account and it's activity. I realize they may not divulge that information without a warrant but nonetheless there should be some kind of trail even if it's a dead end.
I agree that anyone wanting anonymity, like a scammer, wouldn't be sitting in his/her home typing out a scam and sending it off via their internet provider's modem. At least no one with any smarts at all would. But I'm hoping he/she/they didn't think of everything. I did research the two routing numbers, and found that both accounts were opened in VA, one in Richmond and the other about 15 minutes away in Henrico. Of course that's no guarantee he/she/they live anywhere near. But if an email trail points back to the area, then maybe.

I agree that there has to be a paper trail that the bank can follow? Surely as quickly as my money went in, it was taken out with an electronic transfer to somewhere. That's one. The other is the account owner. Either the scammer hacked an innocent person's account or opened an account fraudulently with fake identities. You would think BoA would care about that. That's two.

If anyone reading this likes to dig, the email of the "property manager" is Kimberly.Cestari@aol.com. An unusual name, and the first person to pop up in a search will probably be a realtor in Washington DC. She's been made aware of the scam.
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:31 PM
 
41,823 posts, read 45,148,950 times
Reputation: 17751
Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
An unusual name, and the first person to pop up in a search will probably be a realtor in Washington DC. She's been made aware of the scam.

Richmond is not very far from DC. Whoever opened the bank accounts probably just looked her up in the phone book or online, it's likely part of the scam so if you researched the name it came back to realtor.



Was the scam property in same area?
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,556 posts, read 13,550,608 times
Reputation: 4427
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Richmond is not very far from DC. Whoever opened the bank accounts probably just looked her up in the phone book or online, it's likely part of the scam so if you researched the name it came back to realtor.



Was the scam property in same area?
The rental property is in MA. I had googled the name and had seen there was a realtor by that name, and even though licensed in DC, MD, VA, the thought crossed my mind she was "managing" a property in MA for a friend or relative. Hindsight is so 20/20.
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