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>Housing Scam and What To Do To Avoid Scams


Housing Scam Uses Craigslist As Tool

Renters Offered Great Deals On Renting Homes

A scam in Central Florida involving a popular Web site attempts to prey on individuals who are looking for affordable housing. Scam artists are using to place ads for homes to rent using the same name as the actual renter but a different e-mail address. The ad promises quality homes at an inexpensive price, but the person posting the ad does not own the home, which may be occupied by legitimate renters.                                                      _______________

Personal Safety Tips       craigslist help forum

You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:

  • DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
  • NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”
  • NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)

Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?

  • FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
  • FTC online complaint form (
  • Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center (
  • Non-emergency number for your local police department.

If you suspect that an item posted for sale on craigslist may be part of a scam, please email the details to “”. Be sure to include the URL (or eight-digit post ID number) in your message.

Don’t forget to praise or be afraid to comment negatively.
If you are having trouble finding something specific and can’t find it on our web site, let us know so that we will be better able to help you in the future. Leave feedback. Hit the COMMENTS button.

>Are Most Freelance Sites Scams?


More on Laray Carr

September 6, 2007 by Deb
Filed under Freelance Writing

For those of you who have been coming here to find more information regarding Laray Carr, please visit Victoria Strauss’ blog at Writer’s Beware. You should be especially interested in the comments here. Still not sure if it’s a scam, but it’s certainly not something I’d like my name attached to.
Just a head’s up for those of you looking for more info.

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27 Comments on “More on Laray Carr”

  1. Erik Hare on Thu, 6th Sep 2007 4:52 pm

    The amount of effort put into this makes it sound like a legitimate biz would actually be *easier* That’s the galling part of this all.
    I can see why people think of running a scam if they think they can get rich quick, but I can’t see anyone getting rich off of this junk. It’s a mystery.

  2. Erik Hare on Thu, 6th Sep 2007 5:07 pm

    Just after I posted that last one, I was able to answer my own question by running into this guy:
    The internet is full of 3-Card Monte guys hustling the streets just like any other big city. Some sell useful things like food, some are just running scams. Some are inbetween.
    The bottom line is that they are working very hard for the privilege of being on the street, which I don’t totally understand. But it happens everywhere. It takes a certain amount of smarts to know which one you can buy a hot dog from and which one you don’t even make eye contact with.
    Some of you would rather just avoid them all. That makes sense to me, too. It’s all about what you think you can handle.
    All I ask is that if you’re out there hustling, could you please at least get a decent score once in a while or admit to yourself that you’re a lousy hustler?

  3. Allison on Thu, 6th Sep 2007 7:02 pm

    I’d just like to point out to everyone that while this may very well be a scam (the jury’s still out on that one), please be careful about making accusations. Earlier today, I was accused of being a scammer when all I was trying to do was tell you guys about a neat blogger opportunity. It’s no fun. So yes, warn other about scammers, but make sure you get your facts straight before you do!

  4. Mariella on Thu, 6th Sep 2007 7:10 pm

    When there are no facts to be found, how should you think of it? You can’t get your facts straight unless there are facts available. Sadly, in this case, there’s almost none.
    But let’s not get into that. Let’s just hope that the writers get paid.

  5. Eun Jung on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 10:37 am

    I’ll let you know. I feel a little silly, as I did write a few quick things for them. They didn’t raise any red flags initially, but after seeing all the comments, I am concerned. Stay tuned…

  6. Mariella on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 10:45 am

    Good luck, Eun Jung, and let us know. :)

  7. Eun Jung on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 10:48 am

    Thanks, Mariella.
    Hey, Deb, that might be something we could talk about in the future. I thought I knew what to look for to protect myself from scams, but maybe not. Do you have any tips or discussion threads about that?
    Eun Jung

  8. MIcah on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 2:29 pm

    What interesting information on that blog Deb. It certainly is curious what’ going on. I have been working on google adsense today…what a time consuming thing. I’m certainly learning tons since I havn’t used source code in years.

  9. Bucking the System on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 2:43 pm

    I guess it’s a gut feeling sort of thing, but there are things you can do to protect yourself upfront from scammers.
    Always ask to see their contract, what rights they are purchasing and what rates they are paying. Companies on the level respect your business sense and will get right back to you with answers to your questions.
    Usually a scammer doesn’t even reply to this request because they certainly don’t want to deal with any writers who are too smart to be scammed. And, of course, their “no response” is all the answer you need to know to run the other way.
    Also, never and I mean NEVER write pieces up front about their requested subject matter. This is a typical scam to get free work. If it is just a “test” to see your writing skills, then ANY topic can do that. It doesn’t have to be a piece on a topic specific to their site.
    Actually, I never, ever send free work. I refer them to other work I have online and to my clips but that’s it.
    In all my years writing, I have never had a reputable company ask for samples. They have looked at what I already have and made their decision to hire me on those pieces.
    If the newer writers would just realize that if you are a good writer, you will get the work. It may not happen overnight, heck it definitely WON’T happen overnight, but it will happen. Be patient, stick to your guns, and don’t give you talent away for free or for pennines a word….aren’t you worth more than that?

  10. MIcah on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 3:00 pm

    Thank you so much for your positive viewpoint. I think you are right. Being new comes with all the adequacies that go along with the dream.

  11. Erik Hare on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 4:20 pm

    We had a thread a while back about confidence, and you’re right that this is the best weapon against scams. I hadn’t thought of that before, but you make an excellent point. Perhaps that’s what we need to do here more than anything else!

  12. Katharine Swan on Fri, 7th Sep 2007 6:40 pm

    I’ve been MIA for the last day and a half because my horse just arrived yesterday afternoon — he’s been staying with the inlaws since we rescued him a little over a year ago.
    Anyway, thanks to Deb for directing our attention to this thread of comments. I read the post and comments on Writer Beware shortly after it was posted, but hadn’t been back since. I find it very interesting that Hope posted and then deleted her comments. Even more interesting to me is the claim that the website is not live yet because they are not paying the designers. Will the same thing happen when it comes time to pay the writers? Who knows……..

  13. MIcah on Sun, 9th Sep 2007 5:02 pm

    I did want to say that I heard from Hope. She did recieve my invoice, and even though the launch is for October, the checks will be sent out before that. That’s what she said in the e-mail. I just want to make sure I put in I heard from her, because I posted I had not earlier.

  14. Katharine Swan on Sun, 9th Sep 2007 9:42 pm

    That’s encouraging, Micah. Keep us updated, as I for one would really like to know how the whole thing pans out.
    By the way, I posted on my own blog about the LCP situation, and I thought you guys might be interested. You can see it here.

  15. Kathy Neilsen on Mon, 10th Sep 2007 11:02 am

    Laray Carrs website is up if anyone is interested.

  16. Mariella on Mon, 10th Sep 2007 11:08 am

    Yeah, I saw that too earlier.
    @Micah> I hope that’s really true. I reall do wish on everyone’s behalf that everything turns out well.

  17. MIcah on Mon, 10th Sep 2007 11:10 am

    I like the website. Snazzy! Thanks Mariella.

  18. Anon for this on Mon, 10th Sep 2007 3:14 pm

    Quincy Carr is a known scammer:

  19. Cindy on Tue, 11th Sep 2007 2:58 am

    Take a good look at what are supposed to be the magazines on their site. Those are not magazines, but what are supposed to look like them. Look at the lettering, the wording, etc. Very poorly done, the lettering runs off the edges, the letters are run horribly rogether, etc. These are not real magazine covers, they are obviously something quickly thrown together, probably from Photoshop

    . Look at them closely, and you will see.

  20. Ann G. on Tue, 11th Sep 2007 7:41 am

    What I noticed is that one picture – the cover with Carrie Underwood – I thought she looked younger it in, so I did a search. That picture dates back to 2005 and is copyrighted by Arista Records.,TSHA:2005-45,TSHA:en%26sa%3DN
    Now maybe they got permission, but in my thinking if they’d really interviewed her, they would have had a photographer on hand to take a current picture.

  21. Cindy M on Tue, 11th Sep 2007 10:21 am

    Is it me or did they get Amy Winehouse’s name wrong on the cover of their “Centerstage” magazine? They have her name as Amy Winehurst. It is Amy “Winehouse” isn’t it? And the picture they used is listed in Google images as coming from a blog. Hmmmm…..

  22. MIcah on Tue, 11th Sep 2007 10:29 am

    Connie posted that she did the magazine covers for the website on the Aug. 24th blog. They are just mock ups not the actual magazines.

  23. William Campbell on Sun, 16th Sep 2007 11:06 am

    Hmm, this is an interesting controversy that I’ll certainly be following. I’m definitely learning from all your advice, guys!

  24. Mary on Mon, 1st Oct 2007 12:34 pm

    Hi Gang:
    Yes it’s offical I wrote several articles for Laray Carr and have yet to see a penny for my August work and probably will not. I sent an e-mail only to have come back and to be sent to someone else handling the account. The thing is they will probably sell my articles and they will be used somewhere.
    Live and Learn.

  25. Sheri on Wed, 3rd Oct 2007 6:09 pm

    I did about 10 very long articles for them and just today got a letter saying that ‘Hope” is no longer in charge of freelance writing. So I wrote to the guy who supposedly took over and basically I said “I was supposed to get paid Sept 20 and here is is Oct 2 and no money.” He wrote back and said the articles are now mine and I can publish them anywhere…I was not going to get paid because they didn’t apparently use any of them. The weird thing is the typos in his emails. I think it’s a huge sham so don’t get too involved time-wise with them. Personally, I would not send my personal info again. Grrr
    Good luck with Laray Carr.

  26. Anonymous on Mon, 12th Nov 2007 9:43 pm

    Laray Carr/LC Publications/LCP Media signed a contract with myself for TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to develop all of there websites… when asked for deposits they said “our CEO has been ripped off in the past by freelancers so doesnt like to pay deposits, so we did a deal that we would send over initial concepts then we would recieve the deposit that we asked for…. we sent over the concepts which in there own words “LOVED” did we ever recieve the deposit?! NO! Did we ever have any more contact from them? NO! When we hired a private investigator and they couldnt find any information on the company (at the time) nor the owners (there names didnt bring up ANY information) alarm bells started ringing… we sent an email stating that we’d had a private investigator look into them and was puzzled that they just seemed to be non existant they replied “we decided to have our in house team to do the design work instead, your more than willing to come and meet us at our offices, meet our investors to prove we are real” when we replied to say we would love to fly over from EUROPE to meet them and would gladly pay for the flights ourselves and not bill them, we didnt recieve anymore responces….. are they a real company?! Do they have any money?! Do they have a rich investor?! in my opinon…. HELL NO!

  27. Jessalynn Coolbaugh on Wed, 14th Nov 2007 10:31 pm

    I think the whole LCP thing has been beaten as far as it can be. A lot of good people got burned (myself included); but hopefully we’ve moved on – lesson learned.
    The lesson here, my gentle colleagues, is that as freelancers, we owe it to ourselves to get *everything* in writing. And if we don’t like the original terms of a contract…negotiate. Contracts are made to be changed. If you make what you believe are vital changes to a contract, and the client doesn’t approve – move on. There are other, bigger, fish in that sea who will be more than happy to apply your talent, and pay you accordingly.
    Thanks to Deb for providing so many *honest* outlets where we can ply our talents; and Greetings and Salutations to all my fellow writers.
    To our success and continued education…

>Stop Scam Artists Dead

>I get so many of these lousy con-artist come-on scams it makes me angry. Consider the following, that to the naive on the outside may even look legitimate, but isn’t.

Dalston Mill Fabrics Ltd
69-73 Ridley Road, Dalston,
London, E8 2NP, United Kingdom
TELL: +44 (0)7024075666, +44(0)7024013414
I am Eric Laurence, Human Resources head of Dalston Mill Fabrics Ltd
Based in London UK We are currently in search of a book-keeper/company
representative in the states.
Your Job description is as follows:
1)You would receive payment on our behalf from any of our various
clients which would be made out to you via checks, money orders or
travellers check.
2)As soon as the payment has been cleared by your bank,you then deduct a
commission of 10% of each payment you would be receiving on our behalf
which you are entitled to as been our representative
3)You thus send the remainder funds back via western union to details
you would be given as soon as it has been confirmed you have received
Our payments will be issued out in your name as we would inform our
clients to do.Therefore the following details would be needed from you
via email.
1)Your Full Name
2)Your Physical Address with your state,city and zipcode
3)Your Phone number
4)Your Age
5)Your Occupation
6)Your Nationality
7)Bank Name
Once we have all confirmed your details,it would be forwarded to one of
our clients and they will start making payments to you as the company’s
representative in the states .We would notify you as soon we confirm
that one of our clients has mailed out payment to you
Eric Laurence.

Here’s what’s wrong:

  • Nobody legitimate will give you ten percent of millions of dollars for merely using your bank account to accept money. If it were legit, they would hire a bookkeeper for $30,000 a year, but the checks wouldn’t be made out to him.
  • Checks would be deposited in the company account, not a personal bank account. If checks piled up in your account you’d have the FBI on your doorstep in an instant. They’d get you for racketeering, bank fraud, money laundering and mail fraud and the gangsters go Scott-free.
  • Look at the seven pieces of info they want. All this is is a scam to take over your identity. Any fool who would give them this is asking for it.
  • This is a fishing expedition: once they know all these things about you they will write an email telling you that someone else was more qualified. Then watch the firecrackers go off inside your credit card. You become el-pigeon, the target, the scapegoat. Stand clear.
  • Don’t be fooled by this garbage stuff. I once tallied a half billion dollars in scams sent to me inside of a month–there were seventy-five or so of these inventive emails. I wish I could get them to stop emailing me like this. But the only answer is to cancel this email service and get a new one. Or just delete this stuff each month. Don’t get caught in their scam. Get angry and stand clear!

Believe me–legitimate, legal companies don’t operate like this.

>Do People Scam You, Too?

>Have The email Scammers Got Your Number?
I received so much scam mail I started to keep tract. In three weeks this summer I received 115 scams where I had won prodigious amounts of cash or someone had died and the widow wanted me to act as go-between to get the money into the U.S.–act as money launderer– and all I had to do was click, prove I was who I was and receive the money.

WRONG! A while back I checked it out, just to see how much personal detail you needed to give up to get the cash. Came to find out there was no winnings or cash and you had to tell them personal identity stuff like credit card number, social security number, home phone, and address, where you worked, where you went to school, parents’ names and ad infinitum…

This is written to alert you to not give them anything. Here are some typical come-on language.


2) Urgent appointment. Somebody died and there’s 40% of $5.5 million for me for doing practically nothing (except selling my soul).

3) File Your Claims or Call +44-7024038390


if (typeof YAHOO == “undefined”) { var YAHOO = {}; } YAHOO.Shortcuts = YAHOO.Shortcuts || {}; YAHOO.Shortcuts.hasSensitiveText = false; YAHOO.Shortcuts.sensitivityType = []; YAHOO.Shortcuts.doUlt = false; YAHOO.Shortcuts.location = “us”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_id = 0; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_type = “”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_title = “File Your Claims or Call +44-7024038390”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_publish_date = “”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_author = “”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_url = “”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_tags = “”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.document_language = “english”; YAHOO.Shortcuts.annotationSet = { “lw_1219430548_0”: { “text”: “IRISH NATIONAL LOTTERY BOARD ONLINE NOTIFICATION”, “extended”: 0, “startchar”: 0, “endchar”: 72, “start”: 0, “end”: 72, “extendedFrom”: “IRISH NATIONAL LOTTERY BOARD”, “predictedCategory”: “”, “predictionProbability”: “0”, “weight”: 0.29159, “type”: [“shortcuts:/concept”], “category”: [“CONCEPT”], “wikiId”: “”, “relatedWikiIds”: [], “relatedEntities”: [], “showOnClick”: [], “context”: “IRISH NATIONAL LOTTERY BOARD ONLINE NOTIFICATION Contact:Dr. Williams Spencer ( for the claim of \u00c2\u00a31.350.000 pounds”, “metaData”: { “visible”: “false” } }, “lw_1219430548_1”: { “text”: “”, “extended”: 0, “startchar”: 223, “endchar”: 260, “start”: 223, “end”: 260, “extendedFrom”: “”, “predictedCategory”: “”, “predictionProbability”: “0”, “weight”: 1, “type”: [“shortcuts:/us/instance/identifier/hyperlink/mailto”], “category”: [“IDENTIFIER”], “wikiId”: “”, “relatedWikiIds”: [], “relatedEntities”: [], “showOnClick”: [], “context”: “IRISH NATIONAL LOTTERY BOARD ONLINE NOTIFICATION Contact:Dr. Williams Spencer ( for the claim of \u00c2\u00a31.350.000 pounds which you have won”, “metaData”: { “linkHref”: “”, “linkProtocol”: “mailto”, “linkYmailto”: “”, “visible”: “true” } } }; IRISH NATIONAL LOTTERY BOARD £1.350.000 pounds
Contact:Dr. Williams Spencer ( for the claim of which you have won in IRISH-PROMO.

4) Your E-mail Have Won the Sum Of 1,000,000.00 Pounds***Contact Us Via Email:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:38 PM From:


5) Contact Mr.George Cutts ( Tele: 00447031964476 for a lump sum pay out of £2.5 000 000 pounds sterlings.Provide him with the information below: 1.Full Name: 2.Full

Oh, if it were really that simple. If only they just wanted the above information. But if someone responds to these phony emails he will find they get a lot more personal than that.

The above represents five of 115 emails and they are probably representative of what I and you receive every three weeks, or 4.35 percent. Adding up the offers above amounts to almost $402 million dollars. That’s just in three weeks. If that is representative of what I will get all year, and I think it is, and if I executed each offer, I would end up in one year with almost $7 billion dollars, all IRS tax free–until they caught up to me. Then it would be the rest of my life wearing stripes, carrying a ball and chain.

Most of the offers were in English pounds, so I assume most were from Great Britain or Nigeria, or some such country that uses British currency. But in reality, all of these could be coming from Brooklyn, New York or Chicago–home of U.S. scams. Or from some kid’s bedroom in a respectable neighborhood of Hartford, Connecticut. The kid might be a peach of a boy to his teachers in secondary school, but to the bigger scam artists he’s just some scumbag kid who will take fifty bucks to bugger up some unsuspecting widow’s life.

Don’t go near this stuff. Delete it from your computer as soon as it arrives. If it bothers you, trash your current email and get a new one, like Yahoo G-Mail that advertises it is more “scam resistant.”

>There Are Scammers Everywhere

>Fake Debt Collectors and False Lotto Winners Bother and Terrify Consumers

Alleged Debt Collection Scam Uses Strange Names And Threats to Frighten Consumers

Here’s one scenario that has happened. Tamara moved into her townhouse two years ago and has faithfully paid mortgage payments. She is home alone one night just before ten when the phone rings. It’s a man on the other end who claims he is with a credit company. He calls it the Home Protection Credit Alliance and tells her the mortgage on her home is in default and the company is about to foreclose.

“What? she shrieks. She knows that can’t be true. She has made timely payments to her bank. “…and I can prove it,” she shouts. “I pay by credit card and they have received the payments because they send me a monthly statement.”

“Not according to our records,” the man says. “But it could be a simple mistake and if you’ll give me some information I can probably correct it for you right away.”

“Who is this?” She demands. I made my payments and I can prove it.”

“I believe you did,’ the man says. “You say you paid by credit card?”

He seems intelligent and has a friendly voice. But, still, Tamara is suspicious.

“When and to whom was your last payment, and for what amount?”

“It was the last of July.”

“Well, if you’d just give me the name and number on the card our office will check it out thoroughly for you and straighten things out without you having to do anything.”

Tamara’s suspicion heightens. She is smarter than the average citizen and refuses to talk to him further so she hangs up. Still, the lingering fear of having someone call almost in the middle of the night, knowing more about her than she knows about him scares her. She checks the doors to her home, making sure the deadbolts are set and there are no unlocked windows. She is actually terrified and unable to sleep. Her big mistake was that she talked to the man instead of hanging up immediately.

What the scam artist was looking for was information about Tamara. Once he had her credit card number and name he would ask for and (usually) get her social security number and address. Identity theft is rampant in the world. It would be easy, then, for him to charge up some large purchases and/or make false identity records and create nothing but trouble for Tamara for the rest of her life.

Scammers have bilked people out of millions of dollars each year.

Law enforcement officials in West Virginia say they’re struggling to track down alleged scammers who use repeated phone calls, threats and fake names to try to swindle consumers out of thousands in supposed debt repayments.

Prosecutors said that the scammers, who often speak with heavy foreign accents, are known for repeatedly calling people at home and at work and threatening them with arrest if they don’t repay supposed debts — debts that, according to West Virginia officials, don’t actually exist.

The scammers operate under names such as U.S. National Bank, Federal Investigation Bureau and United Legal Processing, said West Virginia Assistant Attorney General Norman Googel.

The callers also have invoked the names of actors Denzel Washington and Steve Martin.

Googel said that the scammers have been impossible to track down, but spoke to one man who claimed to be associated with U.S. National Bank. The man said he worked for Financial Crime Division, a company he said provides services for USNB.

The man refused to give his name and gave little information about his company.

“It’s not necessary that each and everyone knows about Financial Crime Division, and probably one of them is you,” he said.

Be scrupulously aware of who you’re talking to on the phone. Check the call number on the phone printout before answering. Let questionable calls go on your answering machine. Usually these people will not leave a number. Some folks have been bothered so much by scams and salespeople they have left a recording on their phone asking the person to simply “amscray” or leave a number and name if this is not a scam. That way you don’t need to answer these kinds of calls and the perpetrators usually won’t call you back.
Never call back unless you know the person calling.