The scammers typically list a 1-2 bedroom a very nice looking apartment for monthly rental in the center of Florence at a very low price (500-600 euro a month all inclusive which is too good to be true). If you perform a reverse image search on the listing photos, you'll find that the REAL apartment is located somewhere else (e.g. a Prague or Barcelona, in some cases). They ask for your direct email (they don't want correspondence via CL). They tell you some bullshit story about themselves sometimes impersonating someone famous as the owner. They ask for information about you probably to gauge how gullible you might be.
Here is the important part: when you ask to see the property, they tell you that they live abroad, and they cannot show you the apartment in person, but they use FlipKey or Airbnb and it's totally safe and guaranteed blah blah blah. So they ask for a payment upfront saying that these companies will show you the apartment and if you you don't like it, you'll get your money back. Yeah, right! At this point (if not before)- RUN AWAY. They send you a link to a website that appears to be legitimate Airbnb or FlipKey but in fact it is NOT. Don't be fooled by a logo on top of the page- the domain address has nothing to do with these companies. The website asks for your credit card details or instructs you to send money (usually 2000 euros or so) to a personal bank account of some private individual (in some cases, in Hungary). If you send the money, you can waive good bye to it.
Here is some tips how to spot a scam:
1) the listing photos are beautiful, and usually stolen. Perform a a reverse image search on a couple of these photos
2) the price is below market
3) the "owner" lives abroad and is not going to show you the property in person (even through an agent or a friend)
4) impersonate someone well known as the alleged owner (which is actually stupid because when the scammer said he was a known plastic surgeon named so and so, I located the guy on FB in 2 seconds and contacted him to verify the info)
5) they ask for upfront payment before even showing you the property, supposedly through Airbnb or FlipKey and send you a bogus link to a completely different website, that looks legitimate but is totally fake. They ask for CC info or instruct you to make a payment to a personal bank account.
In no circumstances you should send the money to anyone without seeing the place (unless you book though Airbnb or other such services, but you should log in with your registered account and check it's boba fide website), having a written agreement, and knowing who the owner is.
NON contattatemi con servizi o offerte non richiesti