I've been looking for apartments on immobilienscout24.de in Germany (Munich) and have just got back exactly the same response to two enquiries I made this morning. The first one started to ring alarm bells, but when I got two independent responses from two ads with exactly the same wording I did a google search and arrived here...! Disappointing (cos the places looked amazing) but I'm glad I did!
Dodgy e-mail addresses are Mayoufi Nadja <firstname.lastname@example.org> - wanted me to send money to the company TNT; and Frank Ulis <email@example.com> - wanted money sent to Rent.com. A copy of the response follows.
If we decide to proceed with this transaction, I will have to contact the real estate agency Rent.com and provide them all the necessary information, so they can start the process right away. I will need your full name and address for that. You will receive a notification from Rent.com shortly after that, together with all the instructions to follow and the invoice as well. Regarding the payment, you will be instructed to deposit the money to a Rent.com account. They will hold and marry your money until you check the apartment and decide if you want take it or not. That is how their buyer protection policy works. As far as my concerns, I will be glad to know that Rent.com has the possession of the money during the delivery period. That is my insurance.As soon as the funds have been deposited into their account, they will immediately start the shipping process.The keys and rental contract will be delivered at your address in no more than 3 working days. You will be given a ten days inspection period from the day you receive the keys and contract at home. If you decide to hold the apartment, then you will have to Authorize Rent.com to release the funds to me, and the transaction will be completed. If you will not be satisfied with the apartment, you will be able to send the keys and contract back through the same service and ask Rent.com to return the funds to you. Through I am sure you will love the apartment, it is good to know that you do have this second option available. If you wish to proceed with renting the apartment, please provide me your full name and address so I can initiate the deal through real estate agency Rent.com right away.