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Thread: BEWARE: Craigslist Scammer Monica Brown in South Beach

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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    Default BEWARE: Craigslist Scammer Monica Brown in South Beach

    I just wanted to warn you guys of a Craigslist scammer that got my friend for $750. I feel kind of dumb myself, because I went with him to look at the place & I told him that everything seemed legit. Normally, you think of Nigerian schemes on Craigslist but this was a bit more elaborate. I figured that everything was ok, since we met with the girl, and looked at the apartment. He was looking to rent a room in South Beach and came across this ad:

    $750 *****HUGE FURNISHED BEDROOM NEEDS A COOL ROOMMATE! (south beach)

    He sent over an email and received a response from Monica (monicabrownl@yahoo.com) who told him to text her when he wanted to look at the place -- (Phone #: 347-239-5263) Yes, I realize that this is a NY number. It made us a bit leery, but since South Beach is such a transient place, we didn't think too much into it. After all, I have an out of area # myself, and so do many of our friends.

    We went to the apt located @ -- 710 Collins Avenue (Near the Gap) and it wasn't anything special, but it was in the area that he wanted & the price was about average, if not a little high ($750 for a room- not the whole apt). Believe me, I looked at the unit, and it certainly wasn't one of those "Too Good To Be True Situations". I actually thought the place was quite dated for the price. Anyway, we met with Monica and she seemed to be a nice girl. She explained that she was moving to another building and decided to rent out her room & the other room separately. She explained this long story (which sounded legit) explaining that there was a girl from France that would be living there..blah blah blah...The story seemed good, he liked the place...and wanted to move in.
    She said that he could move in on the 1st (it was the 26th) but she needed the deposit of $750 to hold the place (BIG MISTAKE). We should have just given her like $50 or $100..but we thought that we had a rapport with her and he gave her $750. We had her write up an agreement stating that she received the money...intended move-in date..etc..

    Well, on the 28th (day before move-in) she calls & explains that there is a huge problem. Supposedly she needs to get approved at her new unit and it's taking longer than expected. She explained that it would take at most - 4 or 5 days. He told her that it sucked but not the end of the world (he's staying at my place) and to stay in touch. Well, from that point she has vanished.. We both tried calling her from our different cell phones & there is no answer. In fact, now it goes straight to voice mail. We went out to the unit & knocked many times at various hours but there is no one there. I'm thinking that we'll literally wait there all day tomorrow and then call the police. However, my guess is that she was being evicted from that apt, had no money to leave and did this to several people.

    I'm sure that his money is probably lost, but hopefully this can help someone else from getting scammed by her or someone else with the same scam. Does anyone have any ideas on locating her? We inputted info into a skip tracer service, but I think that she showed us fake identification and signed the contract with the fake info...Really weird!
    Last edited by Jess; 03-07-2011 at 11:23 AM. Reason: retitled
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    rk
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    Thanks for posting, sorry to hear it. This is not your usual Nigerian scam, but it just shows how far scammers will go. In addition to not renting off Craigslist, here's one thing all renters (and buyers) simply must do:

    Go to the County assessor's web site: http://gisims2.miamidade.gov/myhome/propmap.asp and get all information about any specific unit you're planning to rent or buy. Every property has the owner's name and address listed there. Make sure you're dealing with the owner, or the owner's authorized representative.

    I know it is a bit late for you, but if you can still contact the owner perhaps you can get a lead on who that girl really was. If that is a condo building (are you sure about the 710 Collins address? there seems to be no building with that address) you can contact the condo management, though it is better to try the owner first.
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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    Default Re: Craigslist Scammer

    Quote Originally Posted by rk View Post
    I know it is a bit late for you, but if you can still contact the owner perhaps you can get a lead on who that girl really was. If that is a condo building (are you sure about the 710 Collins address? there seems to be no building with that address) you can contact the condo management, though it is better to try the owner first.
    Thanks..we'll give it a shot. Sorry, I was wrong about the address. It is actually - 701 Collins Ave (The corner of 7th and Collins).
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    i neva have n neva will use craiglist. its so shody

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about this. Usually. when they scam like that, they're not there -- they just tell you to drive by and look at the place and leave a deposit if you're interested. You would think that if they had keys to the apartment, it would be too easy to trace who they were. I second RK's suggestion of contacting the owner to see if you can find out anything. I would also contact the police department.
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    Default Re: Craigslist Scammer

    Quote Originally Posted by croatbob View Post
    i neva have n neva will use craiglist. its so shody

    to avoid scaring everybody - there's also a lot of good stuff out there on cl... just be careful and go with your instinct. ive had many good experiences selling and buying, including finding my apartment.
    strangest thing i sold on cl was a 30 rack of beer. found a buyer in 10 min though (a man in his 40s).

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    Sorry you guys got scammed. It's a jungle out there.

    Did you guys get to see her license and hopefully her address? Try dropping by the bldg. and talking to the neighbors. Google up her name, check Facebook, there's also a few website where you put in a name and a city, and everyone with that name shows up along with their respective addresses.

    Looks like Monica Brown is a popular aka for scammers, follow this link

    Nigerian Scammer MONICA BROWN,

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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    Default Re: Craigslist Scammer UPDATE

    Wow..this story has definitely taken an unexpected turn... I returned to the property and spoke with all of the neighbors...exchanged phone #'s and informed them of the scammers. It turns out someone else lives in the apartment but they were not home whenever i knocked. We made a police report & provided all of her information and are awaiting contact from the detective.

    I posted a warning on craigslist and received dozens of responses. Some were people that were scammed, while other's were people that ALMOST rented another apt from her. Fortunately, one person was nice enough to provide me with her latest apt-
    This new apt is located at -- 2301 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139

    After reading my "BEWARE OF SCAMMER" post, Monica Brown (Said Scammer) emailed me & called my friend immediately. FINALLY, a response after over a week of her Missing In Action. She explained that her phone was stolen. We said, sorry to hear that (with full knowledge that she already scammed others) & said "Well, then we can move in now then..right?" She said that there is a bigger problem. The deposit money was stolen from her & she doesn't have that apt anymore.. When I told her that I've contacted the police and knew of her current location , she started cursing, screaming and calling my friend "a stupid white trash"..she also called me things that I shouldn't type here.

    Her next excuse was that it was my friend's fault. Because he wasn't around when it was time for her to move. (obviously not true since we both left MANY messages for her).

    She DEMANDS that we remove the police report from her record because she is not white trash and doesn't want a police record. I told her that it would be removed as soon as she gives the money back. THEN, she said that she will FedEx us the money (Ya, right...lol). Finally, she sent us a text to meet at ANOTHER address at 10pm tomorrow. When we said that we would meet, she balked and said "But, how do I know that the police report wil be removed". I told her that we would call the detective in front of her upon receiving the money & explain that there was a mistake. Finding herself out of excuses, she became enraged and started screaming again.

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    rk
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    Very interesting. How do you know her current location (I assume the 2301 Collins (Roney) location is another scam)? or even her correct name? Still, she must fear you in some way or why would she call you back. A police report with a false name doesn't amount to much.

    One has to assume she had a key to the 701 Collins apt from having a copy from before and the current occupant never changed keys. Same scam at Roney, possibly.

    I've heard of absentee owners having their places rented out by scammers and being unaware of it, usally as short term vacation rentals. Changing locks often seems as important in S. Florida as changing passwords on the Internet.

    It'll be very ineteresting to see how the police follow up. Usually they can't be bothered to do much more than file a report.

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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    Default Re: Craigslist Scammer

    Yes, I'm guessing that the police will probably do nothing. The sad thing is that she sent me numerous text messages reminding me of this last night -
    "You're so stupid and ugly if you think that the police will do anything for this. It's not like you know where I live.."

    It's quite unfortunate if this is the case because there are MANY people that have been scammed by her, and many residents are still losing money to her. I know this from the private emails that I have received in response to my Craigslist Warning. It's pretty sad...People like this are a cancer to the community, and give our beautiful city a bad name. Could you imagine coming from another country or state to rent a short term rental, only to get scammed by this person? For this reason, we will continue to hunt her down ourselves until she is brought to justice. South Beach just isn't that big of a place.

    The address that I was referring to was the -- 2301 Collins Avenue. I was informed of this address by a craigslist user that was almost scammed by her. You're right that it's most likely another scam spot, but she's definitely nervous about something. I think it's mostly because I screwed up her scam. She didn't speak with me until people from Craigslist confronted her. I'm guessing that she lost a good amount of revenue, and she called me with a sob story so that I would feel bad for her and remove the post. When that didn't work, she decided that threatening and calling us ugly idiots would help her scam further. After that failed, she started with the -- "How can I trust that you will remove the police report"

    Seriously, this girl is disturbed (Possibly on drugs)..She's stopped talking to my friend and started talking with me..lol She called me / texted me rapid fire ALL NIGHT last night from 7:00pm - 2:15am. Then at 2:15am, she said that I would have to pick up the money right away at some strange address or we would not get anything. I have no idea what she had planned, but obviously, we didn't go there.. Dealing with "Monica Brown" is worse than a crazy ex-girlfriend but listening to her stories / rants is definitely entertaining.

    We're certain that we'll never see the money again, but we're hot on her trail & blocking on her scam as much as we can.

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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    Here is the latest text message cut/pasted from Google Voice this morning at 9am--

    From Me --
    "So, are we meeting up today at 10am today so that we can get the deposit back..or are should I just have the police handle it from here?"

    Monica -
    "I'm at the spa right now. 10 is not a good time for me. We can meet when I'm out, I have a cleaning lady today n a plummer plus work so u have to fit somwere in there.

    From Me -
    "ok great...tell me what time works for you & where"

    Monica-
    "You could of get yr cash yesterday. U didn't want to get here yesterday so today you have to be supa flexible bc I actually hve a life.

    From Me -
    No I really don't have to be...but what time and place. I really don't have time for arguing all day.


    Monica-
    Ok. I should be outt here by 1:30. I will text u when i am on the way.

    From Me -
    So, were meeting at 1:45pm then? Where?

    Monica -
    17th or 23rd whichever atm is working. Have your friend come alone.

    From Me -
    Ok sure no problem. But WHERE do you want to meet? You gave me two locations.

    Monica -
    You wouldn't try to put two guys on one girl would you? I know that you hae little man's syndrome but your friend better be alone.

    From Me -
    He will be there. Give us the time and location.

    NO RESPONSE

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    Oh My God. This story is awful. I have not been so glued to a thread since sungal moved here.

    What a bitch. She is probably panicking as not one but two of her addresses have been busted, which means she will lose her revenue.

    Are you sure the owner at 7th and Collins was not in on it? How did she let you in?

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    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    South Beach is full of selfish crazy people like this. This story really made me sad for your friend.

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    Default Re: Craigslist Scammer

    Quote Originally Posted by FL_Style View Post
    Yes, I'm guessing that the police will probably do nothing. "
    It's quite unfortunate if this is the case because there are MANY people that have been scammed by her, and many residents are still losing money to her.
    I'm surprised the Miami police don't have an internet task force for local scammers. (Oh wait they are busy buying drones.) Well, at least you stopped her in her tracks. Keep annoying her about the police report and maybe you'll get something back. It's hard because lots of people do shares and the protocol is if you like the roommate, apt, etc, you have to write a check to secure it. So now what's a person to do? I hope you guys get your money back and find a place.

    Maybe text her and say, "One last chance. Meet me at 7th and Collins (she's sure to feel guilty there), and bring our $750 back, since my friend never got the apartment you promised. The police have the police report, along with the agreement you signed using a fake name. They now have your real address so return the money and I will say it was a mistake, otherwise their internet task force will find you, and I''ll get the money back that way."

    That should scare her!
    Last edited by Christy; 03-07-2011 at 11:48 AM.

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    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    Oh yes, you HAVE to keep harrassing her for the money. And go to the two addresses, especially the Rooney, and report her to the board there.

    I still think the person LIVING at 7th Collins Apt was in on it. Too risky for her just to go in. I'd go back there also and demand more information. No way did she just go in hoping no one would be there.

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    Moderator Jess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Craigslist Scammer

    Quote Originally Posted by Christy View Post

    Maybe text her and say, "One last chance. Meet me at 7th and Collins (she's sure to feel guilty there), and bring our $750 back, since my friend never got the apartment you promised. The police have the police report, along with the agreement you signed using a fake name. They now have your real address so return the money and I will say it was a mistake, otherwise their internet task force will find you, and I''ll get the money back that way."
    I like this idea.

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    Why thank you!

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    Preferred Member juve78's Avatar
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    Default Re: BEWARE: Craigslist Scammer Monica Brown in South Beach

    I can not stop reading this thread. I wish you the very best. I hope in the end, either you get your money or justice is served. UNREAL!!!!!!

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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    Default Re: BEWARE: Craigslist Scammer Monica Brown in South Beach

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess View Post
    Oh yes, you HAVE to keep harrassing her for the money. And go to the two addresses, especially the Rooney, and report her to the board there.

    I still think the person LIVING at 7th Collins Apt was in on it. Too risky for her just to go in. I'd go back there also and demand more information. No way did she just go in hoping no one would be there.

    We're definitely going to continue tracking her. We already have come to terms with losing the money...now we're just trying to shut her operation down.


    Quote Originally Posted by Christy
    Maybe text her and say, "One last chance. Meet me at 7th and Collins (she's sure to feel guilty there), and bring our $750 back, since my friend never got the apartment you promised. The police have the police report, along with the agreement you signed using a fake name. They now have your real address so return the money and I will say it was a mistake, otherwise their internet task force will find you, and I''ll get the money back that way."
    I called to tell her your suggest & she didn't answer. However, she texted me immediately:

    Monica: I am at the spa you stupid idiot. I'm guessing you've never been at the spa n a little man syndrome gets in the way of your thinking but u cant talk on the phone here.

    Me: Ok..I just wanted to give you one more chance. Meet me at 7th and Collins and bring our $750 back, since my friend never got the apartment you promised. The police have the police report, along with the agreement you signed using a fake name. They now have your real address so return the money and I will say it was a mistake, otherwise their internet task force will find you, and I''ll get the money back that way.

    Monica: Hey maybe plastic surgery will get to the point where they can stretch a guy n this will be your lucky day! I will call you when I am leaving the spa.


    The Saga Continues....
    I'm guessing that she will call and say that she was there but we were not...or some crazy story..We'll see..

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    Full Member FL_Style's Avatar
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    I'm going to invite her to post here so that she can voice her side of the story? What do you guys think?

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