By Mark Taylor
This article covers scams that have been experienced here in Brazil, with the primary purpose of making people aware so they don’t fall for the same trap.

The first scam is carried out on job hunters, of which there can be quite a few gringos. Often this happens once registered with an employment agency. Typically the job hunter will receive a call about a too good to be true job with good salary, although the other details are vague. The caller will say they are from a job agency, and that you must attend an interview with them to discuss further. They will persist, even finding a colleague to speak English if necessary.

When you attend the interview at their office they will perhaps again show you a too good to be true salary scribbled on a bit of paper and yet again be equally vague about the other details of the job. They then drop in to the conversation that to be considered for the job you must complete a test, and the charge for the test is say R$100. Of course the test is just routine etc.

Of course the scam is that the job is fictional, and they are making money simply from getting a number of candidates to do their test.

The second scam relates to apartment renting. A foreigner arrives and looks for an apartment. They see an ad in the newspaper and reply. They meet the real estate agent in an office and go along to see the apartment. They like it and decide to rent. As they don’t have a guarantor they pay a three month deposit in cash, get a receipt and rental agreement.

They move into the apartment and the next morning are awoken by loud knocking on the door. It’s the owner of the apartment asking them what they are doing there. They show the contract and try to explain in poor Portuguese. The owner says they don’t know anything about the contract and that the realtor was an imposter. The tenant goes back to the office where he met the realtor but they are no longer there. It was a virtual office which can be rented out by the hour.

If you have been caught by a scam, or know someone else who has, then send us an email with the story at with “scams” in the subject. We will post the stories, and hopefully can save others from being caught.

Readers Comments:

The apartment scam happened to me in SP exactly as described. 3 months rent were only recovered because my banker at home smelled something fishy and had not released the wire transfer. what luck!!!”
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