Scam Type

Rental Scam

Date Reported

Aug 23, 2022

Victim Postal Code


Total Dollars Lost


Scam Description

Went on in search of apartments. It seemed like a safe site because it references well established Universities in Boston (etc). I saw a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment for $540/month with the address 109 Pleasant Street, Boston, MA, Listed by Jen. It seemed too good to be true, but I gave it a shot. I replied to the listing on the website, and then was contacted via email and text by a Johnson Albert in reference to my request on the listing. He asked “Did you get the Application Form Details I sent?”, I said “No”, and he sent an Application via email stating that he has all the keys/bar-codes, lock cards and documents and he can make it possible to send these things to me to access the apartment (because he’s not in the State) or I can drive-by to check it out from the outside. He also stated the Apartment was previously listed by an Realtor, but its his property and he decided to take over to cut on costs and make the transaction quicker. After completing the application form, he then stated that there’s a $500 refundable deposit to be paid, after which he will feel comfortable to send the keys and Lease Agreement, given that he’s not in town. He sent a Zelle Account to transfer the money to (, which is connected to Fifth Third Bank. He/ She also uses a CashApp Account: $CeciliaUgarte87 (Cecilia Ugarte). I sent the money, then a Lease Agreement was sent, which I signed. He then started speaking about his “Attorney” who stated that the 1st Month’s rent will also need to be paid, then he will send the keys via Fedex the following day. I asked for a picture of his ID card so that I can confirm who I’m dealing with before sending any more funds given that his story changed, and I was not getting through to him when I call. He sent a picture of an American Passport with the name Johnson Albert (which was most likely fabricated), and said that his phone isn’t working properly. I then paid the first month’s rent to the same Zelle Account. He said I should have informed him before I sent the money, because he would have provided another Zelle account, because that individual is not at “Desk” so he will not be able to send the key until they return. Or, I can send another set of money to the other account (that he would provide) if I want to receive the keys that day. I said I will wait until the person returns and asked “Who exactly is Ciera More”, and he stated “The Secretary, why do I want to know”. He also stated that I have nothing to worry about, the apartment has already been booked for me, he is no longer accepting applicants and I just need to be patient. He then stopped responding to my messages. My skepticism about the transaction grew, so I asked my cousin to visit the website and apply to this listing. She did so, and he stated that the apartment is still available and sent her the application form to complete. This confirmed the fact that it is indeed a scam. I used a second email address to apply to the listing using an Alias as well, and I have also been sent an application form for the same listing. He/she is still actively scamming victims, if you visit the website, you can see the last three people who replied to the listing.

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