Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Scam targeting ESL Homestay Providers

My name is Rachel, I'm a homestay provider and I just about got scammed out of $15,000. Luckily I caught it in time.

Homestay providers are a new target for scammers. Nigerian and similar, scammers are plaguing classified ads and targeting homestay providers.

My homestay listing was on a few free classified online sites just these past 2 weeks. I got sucked in because, being an English tutor , but being new to providing homestay, I fell for the broken English.

What tipped me off was getting a third-party phone call from someone wanting to send me a certified cheque for homestay. A big red flag: was that the scammer wanted to overpay for the services and have me send the difference to Russia, from where the mythical student was from. I also recalled seeing some investigative reports on online scams, particularly Nigerian ones that are popular, last year, and the tactics they use.

I would like to please suggest that a well placed organization such as yours, that is prominent in Google searches, have some space for scammers targeting homestays from nefarious and fake students. Could your website be a help in this? Perhaps make space on your fraud page?

I'm happy to provide my story as an example because my learning, or realizing, that my situation was a scam is very fresh to me -- I just got called today from the third-party person whose area code was in Quebec, and I've been in correspondence with this potential student for over a week now, supposedly from Russia. I could have lost a lot of money. But I didn't. And I don't want others to fall prey.

I'm wanting to help inform other homestay hosts of this situation --as I believe it's fairly new. Homestay providers need to become aware.

I await your response and, in the meantime, I'll be writing my story and posting it everywhere else I can online, for starters, and soon the police and other places too.

Thank you for reading my letter.

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