New York Scam: A Serious Warning For All Travellers: UPDATE
First off read this post before you book anything.
Names that these bastards use include, but are not limited to:
He's also advertising on sites such as IHA.com and A1Vacation Properties, so I'd avoid them like the plague. None of these sites will assist you other than to say, "Too bad, so sad, we've removed the listing." As we've seen as soon as they pull one listing the scammers load another. The only protection you have is being warned beforehand.
The US authorities seem utterly disinterested in doing anything about this, even though a number of people have done the right thing and reported it through the proper channels. In the meantime do the following:
DO NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEY GRAM OR ANY OTHER SIMILAR PAYMENT METHOD! None of these 'services' offer any protection, once the money is claimed at the other end they could care less about what's gone on. Don't even waste time contacting them, they won't lift a finger and indeed probably won't even reply. If anyone asks for those as payment then stop there and move on.
GET SOMEONE IN NEW YORK TO LOOK AT THE PROPERTY. Vital. Get a contact there to check the building out. You'll soon see if it's a scam.
GET SOMEONE IN THE CITY TO BOOK THE PROPERTY DIRECTLY. Get someone on the ground to find a place and book it there and then.
BOOK A HOTEL. I know when we go we're not going for an apartment - we're going to book a hotel and leave it at that.
IF THE DEAL IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE THEN IT PROBABLY IS. Can't stress that enough. If they're offering to pick you up from the airport, have given you a discount etc etc, then you've probably been ripped off. If it's a really good deal then I'd investigate it properly.
In the meantime feel free to post the details of these bastards. I'm happy to put it all out there for the world to see. They're nothing but scum, low-life criminals that deserve to be locked up for a long, long time. Spread the word