Here's how they make their money:
1. You register on their site and pay $50 for a "processing fee" that is good only for the apartments currently listed. When you don't get one of those apartments (because they don't exist), you will then be told to pay another $50 for the next crop of "available apartments" that also do not exist. Repeat until you understand the scam.
Gradually the "available apartment" listings turn to "rented as of xx/xx/xxxx" listings with personal information added about the person they claim rented the apartment, like this:
"The one bedroom apartment in St. George, Staten Island was just rented by a Mr. Benjamin Dejesus. Mr. Dejesus is retired and receives rental assistance from SSA and section 8. He signed a lease on Oct 4, 2010."
If these people actually exist and did rent the apartments, then their personal info including whether they receive any type of public assistance is now available for all to see. But of course the don't exist. Nobody had to advertise below market rate apartments, all they have to do is ask the super to find a tenant.
Thank you for sharing your story.
In the end, your bank was the one that was robbed by this scammer. The ban has the resources to make law enforcement pursue these fraud activities. Please insure they are aware and pursuing proper action.
ask yourself, "Why would anyone publish a 'super low' rental? The answer is when an adverisment stimulates 'greed' folks do foolish things. In this case GREED is the potential to 'save a big bunch of money!" The result as Lopes shared is exactly the opposite whether it be a super low rent or a lease/option or rent to own...the purpose of for your money to leave your pocket and go to someone else and will leave you in a worse situation.
if you are really looking for a place, you need to get out of harms way and either work with a professional or the ON-SITE leasing office.