Rental property scam

Guy by the name of Steve Thompson renting property in Sandton. His email: aka James Davis
1 Bedroom apartment in Johannesburg Sandton - RR578011, 24 Douglas Ave
Situated in a boomed/24 hr access controlled street in Craighall, Sandton is this recently renovated garden flat with superior finishes. Fully furnished and equipped, (or unfurnished etc) open plan lounge, kitchen, one bedroom and bathroom/shower only. Separate entrance and carport. WIFI. Suit single professional.
Before I can view the place i must make payment to TNT reason for this is because he is in London and can't deal with this himself. His reply to my enquiry:

I just read your message regarding my apartment.Sorry if my answer comes quite late, but your email arrived in my spam folder, and I couldn't see it until now.I bought this apartment for my daughter during her studies in South Africa, but now she's back home permanently, so I'm renting the place for unlimited time.The flat is fully furnished and renovated, exactly like in the photos.You can use my furniture, or you can also use your own if you prefer. If you decide to use yours, you will have access to a large and well ventilated cellar, where you can store my furniture.Also, very important, the utilities (cold/hot water, electricity, wireless broadband Internet, digital TV, 2 parking spots in garage, air conditioning, dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) are included in the price of 4528 ZAR/month. The deposit is also 4528 ZAR, and you get it back, when you decide to leave the apartment (you will have to give me at least 30 days notice). As for me, you can rest assured that I will never ask you to leave the apartment.Before we go any further I would like to know how many persons you intend to share the flat with, and for how long.Now, a little bit about myself: My name is Steve Thompson and I'm a 62 years old graphic designer from London, planning to retire in the next 2 years.I have a lovely wife, Christine and my daughter, Linda. I am very proud to say that soon I'm going to be a grandfather :).Another member of our family is a six year old Labrador Retriever which we all love, so, since I'm a pet owner myself, I will have no problem if you want to keep a pet in the house.The only inconvenience is that my job doesn't allow me to leave London even for one single day. We just hired some new staff and I'm in charge of their training, so my schedule is pretty hectic right now.But this won't affect the rental at all. I can make arrangements to rent the apartment from London (on my expense of course).
Looking forward to hear from you soon.
All the best from Britain! 
I replied and quite excited about this. Querying how do I go about viewing the place. He replies:
Hello ,
Thanks for your reply,Like I have inform you before, the price you shall pay for 1 month of rent will be 4528 ZAR and i want also one month guarantee deposit 4528 ZAR( the guarantee deposit 4528 ZAR you will receive back when you leave the apartment ), with no extra taxes to pay. The money, I want to revive it monthly to my bank account, so I hope it will be no problem for you to wire the money . Of course you will have to see the apartment before discussing further details . I am willing to send you the keys so you can visit it and see it suits your needs.The delivery for the keys and viewing permit (signed by me), will be made with TNT to make sure that we can trust each other.I will explain the procedure if you are interested so please email me as soon as you read this message because I really need to take care of this matter. 
RegardsSteve Thompson 
I agree and let him know he must send me further steps to complete this:
Hello ,
 First of all , I want to tell you that if you are ready to proceed with this transaction I will need to inform you the steps about how this service works You will have 2 days to inspect the apartment before your final decision to rent . I will pay the shipping costs.
 This is how they work : 
1) I will make the delivery papers at TNT . After that I will send you a copy of my passport . 
2) After I will make the papers for delivery they will require for your payment confirmation of the first month and the guarantee deposit(4528 ZAR +4528 ZAR= 9056ZAR) to the company .TNT will send you a delivery notification to let you know they have the Keys and the papers in their custody .Also TNT will give you further instructions about the money deposit . 
3) After the payment is confirmed the delivery process will start and when you will receive the keys, you will have 2 days inspection period before your final decision to rent . 
4) If all is in order, you will instruct TNT to give me the money. Further rents will be sent directly to my bank account. 
5) If you refuse to rent the apt , TNT will give you a full refund (9056ZAR) and you will give them back the keys and the contract.  If you are interested to rent the apt please send me your information, so i can make the deal: 
 Name:..................Address: ...............City: .....................Postal Code: ...............Country:  ..................Phone number:............... 
ThanksSteve Thompson
I sent him my details he replies:
Hello, I've just contact TNT.     Did you received the confirmation from them? Please check all your email folders .I have sent you a copy of my passport . I paid the shipping fees.  TNT its waiting for you to transfer the 9056 ZAR  to their agent in order for them to begin the delivery at your address. When you will be able to transfer the money to them ? I must inform the TNT. As soon as you confirm the payment to TNT they will start the shipping of the keys .
After last email i got suspicious and researched TNT express and found answers on

Report ID: 2850
Crime Category: Fraud
Province: Gauteng
Suburb: Sandton
Address: Sandton
Crime Date/Time: 26 Nov 2012, 00:11 AM
Reported By: Username2850
Reported Date: 26 Nov 2012, 17:11 PM
Related Link:

Join the conversation

  • Anna15 27 Dec 2013, 04:46 PM

    Same here in Poland. Guy presented himself as Matthew Placker and then on other advert as Thomas Sawiki. He used Gumtree. You can report such frauds to "Action Fraud" - UK police office for frauds. They will link all threads and will catch those guys. Sounds like this is a whole group of people, if you got a passport from a man and an ID from a woman. Or they got someone's ID/passport copy and they make false 'scan' in some graphic program.

  • Cal Adams 29 Aug 2013, 10:37 AM

    Exact same incident. This time fraudster is posing as Karen Mary Bagarette and even sent through an ID copy. Saying this time that DHL Express will do the transaction and that you must pay the deposit and one month's rent in cash at a western union before receiving the keys.

  • Jean Alexander 28 May 2013, 05:03 PM

    Same happened to me. But the guy now goes under the name Robert Kensok: Same property, same e-mail than the one above word for word!

  • Emelia 14 Dec 2012, 07:51 AM

    Same here! Any idea where I can report it?

  • Adri15 28 Nov 2012, 01:15 PM

    The same happened with me with Steve Thompson, he tried to rent another property to me in Centurion,I did some research and read about him and his scams

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