Not long ago I heard from one of Chicago’s newer high-rises that people were arriving at the building believing they had reservations for short-term stays. They presented print-outs of their reservations to the building staff, who informed them that they were the victims of a scam.
Several days ago I received an email from an individual who was relocating to Chicago from Boston and looking for a short-term apartment for 4 to 5 weeks. He sent along a link to the website pictured above and asked whether it was a real company.
The website in question tries to establish credibility by using the actual name and address of an existing building. The unit pictured on the site is a loft that does not exist in the building. A Google search on the building’s name would have quickly revealed that – and revealed that it doesn’t offer short-term housing options.
Anyone who has spent any time looking for short-term housing in Chicago, however, should immediately be put on guard by the fact that the price quoted for the pictured apartment – $45 a night – is unrealistically low.
What clearly identifies Silver Gold Apartment as a scam is its request for payment by bank transfer:
Due to a lot of frauds on Credit Cards and Pay Pal, We no longer available these form of payments any longer. The only form of payment accepted in Bank Transfer. And one of the reasons we choose to Bank Transfer as a means of payment is because most owners of the apartments we offered preferred to receive payments for the apartment directly into the bank account.
You should never send money for an apartment by wire transfer or bank transfer. No legitimate business will insist on that form of payment.
Craigslist has a decent summary of how to avoid scams, and links to useful sites.