Homemade TV Dinners: It’s Cheaper, Healthier and Tastes So Much Better!


There are not very many TV dinner choices in Ireland.  Stores like Iceland have a decent selection, but Iceland stores are not everywhere and they are not where I am currently living.  Even the cheapest TV dinners are not very inexpensive (in my opinion) compared to what you can pay in the U.S., but we have a lot of need for something quick and easy to throw in the oven or microwave, so I decided to make my own.  And I thought I’d share what I did with my readers. 

To start, I need to buy some foil baking containers.  I had hoped to find some smaller, rectangular-shaped shallow containers, but only found deeper ones.  I bought a five-pack of the deeper ones.  I also cleaned out our freezer of any of the meat products we don’t seem to be eating.  I’m either making recipes out of those products or baking them off in the oven to be re-frozen for later use. 

Here are some of my thoughts on things I could make and freeze:

  • Meatballs:  Tony’s mother gave me this idea a few years ago.  She made some amazing Swedish Meatballs and would cook a bunch of them off and then freeze them so when they wanted something easy, all she had to do was heat them up. 
  • Lasagna:  Although, this takes a bit more preparation than some other ideas, homemade lasagna is much better than store-bought.
  • Spaghetti:  Very simple, because you can get away with store-bought sauce (jazz it up a bit) and pasta is cheap and easy.  When you’re ready to make it, butter two sides of sliced bread and sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper, salt and a small amount of Italian seasoning and bake until golden.  Add cheese for cheese bread. 
  • Meatloaf:  Meatloaf is great, because it can be heated up with mashed potatoes and buttered corn or individual slices can be frozen and thawed for meatloaf sandwiches. 
  • Pot Pie:  You can make beef, chicken or turkey.  I used a mini springform pan to make my pot pies, because I didn’t have any mini pie pans.  Once the pie has cooled for 15 minutes, you can separate the springform and carefully remove from the bottom.
  • Various Chicken Dishes:  There’s a lot you can do with chicken.  You can season it various ways and bake it, stuff it with cheese, bread it—any number of things.  Serve with frozen vegetables, mashed potatoes or more.
  • Potato Wedges:  I had a bag of potatoes already and picked up some garlic potato wedge spice.  I’m going to bake them off in the oven and use them as sides with my meat dishes.
  • Burritos:  Burritos are excellent for the freezer.  I’m making breakfast burritos, but you can also do enchiladas, baked chicken wraps and more.   
  • Pizza:  Who doesn’t love pizza?  I guarantee your frozen homemade pizza will knock store-bought frozen pizza out of the park!

Since I don’t have enough baking dishes for everything, I’m going to create five meals using the aluminum pans, a few pot pies, homemade pizza and some breakfast burritos.  I’ll be taking pictures of the food I make and posting recipes, so check back for more.

5 Cheap Meal Ideas


If you’ve been reading any of my other recent blog posts, you may know that I am currently on the 10-day master cleanse, so it may come as a surprise to you that I’m posting about food.  I’ve been wanting to post this for a while and since I’m still able to think, talk about and look at food without feeling like an animal about to go for its kill, I thought it would be a good time to get it out of the way.

Times are tough for many people around the world.  I’m an American living in Ireland and although I find the food to be quite expensive here, I’m also hearing how expensive food has become from my family back home.  We have good weeks and we have bad weeks here and on the bad weeks, I have to get thrifty with the grocery cost.  Here are some cheap meal ideas.  They won’t win you any gourmet cooking awards, but they will help reduce the cost of your food bill.  Also, I can tell you that you can buy all of the ingredients for these items in Ireland.  

#1.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Condensed Tomato Soup:  You can buy bread here for as cheap as 69-89 cents a loaf if you shop at stores like Aldi and Lidl.  I spent 54 cents on a can of tomato soup from Tesco and you can be 15 slices of processed cheese for 64 cents at Tesco.  Butter is actually your biggest cost here.  In case you’ve never made a grilled cheese before, heat up a fry pan on medium heat.  Lightly butter one side of two slices of bread.  Put one piece of bread butter-side down in the frying pan and lay one to two slices of cheese on top of it.  Place the second slice of bread butter-side up over the top.  Cook each side until golden brown.  Be sure to check frequently, because there’s nothing worse than an overcooked grilled cheese sandwich.

#2.  Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwich:  Grilled peanut butter sandwiches are delightful.  There’s nothing better than that warm, gooey peanut butter in the middle and the fried butter taste that comes with it.  You make these the same way, but put smooth peanut butter in between layers instead of cheese.  I personally like Tesco brand smooth peanut butter.  It tastes the most like Skippy or Jiffy in the U.S.

#3.  Classic Hotdogs and Potato Chips/Crisps:  You can buy a 12 pack of hotdogs from Lidl for less than 2 Euro.  Hotdog buns at Lidl are only 99 cents for a 6-pack.  A jar of pickles (can be chopped up for relish) can be purchased just about anywhere for 89 cents and condiments are also cheap (particularly at Lidl and Aldi).  I also make sort of a homemade ranch dressing using Creme Fresh (89 cents at Lidl), 2 Tablespoons of chopped chive, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garlic and salt and pepper to taste.  This can be used as a salad dressing or on the hotdogs.  I simply boil my hotdogs until they’re done.  

#4.  Garden Salad:  I love to eat salad.  Of course I don’t eat healthy salad, but if it is your only meal, it’s okay to incorporate all of the food groups.  Everyone’s salad is different, but here is what mine consists of:  Freshly chopped lettuce (lettuce is 89 cents a head at Tesco), chopped cucumber (69 cents a piece at Tesco), sliced green olives (I get a huge jar of green olives at Lidl for less than 3 Euro), ranch dressing (can buy in some Tescos in Dublin area or make recipe above), shredded cheddar cheese (I buy 500 grams of shredded cheddar for less than 3 Euro at Lidl), diced tomato (always cheap), diced onion (always cheap again) and cottage cheese (if I have it – can be purchased for less than a Euro at many local stores).  You can make your own croutons out of old bread by tossing bread cubes with butter and seasoning to taste.  

#5.  Buttered Noodles:  If you’ve ever gone into a Noodles & Co. in the states, you may have seen or even tried buttered noodles.  Sounds weird, but can be excellent.  Pasta is cheap in this country.  You can usually buy a bag of penne for less than a Euro (particularly at places like LIdl and Aldi).  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, melt 1 cup of butter in a frying pan.  Add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of Italian seasonings, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper.  Melt completely, but do not burn.  Shred Parmesan cheese.  To serve, fill bowl with hot pasta, pour plenty of butter sauce over the top and sprinkle generously with cheese.  Again, the Parmesan and butter are going to be your most expensive purchases, but you should be able to get more than one of these meals out of a blocck of Parmesan.  It depends on how much cheese you like and how many people are eating.  

Fresh Cucumber and Bean Salad: Low GI Menus


Today was the final day in my fourth week of Sásta.  I have successfully completed 12 sessions.  I didn’t miss a day or a week and I’ve stuck to the low GI lifestyle as best I can.  Of course, I still have a lot to learn and I’ve got a good ways to go before I’ve perfected my daily meals, but I’m doing great.

I knew going into this program that I probably would not see the same results as others.  The program promises the loss of one pant size in four weeks.  Because of my physical problems, I knew that this was not likely to be my outcome.  I have two separate heart conditions.  The first is heart block.  Basically, one side of my heart does not communicate with the other and so my heart stops beating.  Because of this issue, I have a pacemaker.  I’ve had it since I was 22.  I just turned 32 on Tuesday.

The second heart condition is rapid heart rate.  Because of this problem, I’m on medication to keep my heart rate regulated.  A doctor in Germany suggested that weight loss would be very difficult for me due to my heart problems.  Because my heart rate doesn’t do what it is supposed to, I would find it difficult to lose weight.  He wasn’t kidding.  I have tried many things over the past few years and though I’ve achieved slight weight loss here and there, nothing stuck.  For the most part, my weight stayed the same for a few years, but in 2011, it spun out of control and I packed on an additional 40-50 pounds.  I did lose some of that weight on my own and even losing just it would not make me completely happy (although happy enough).  I have a long road ahead of me, but I’ve come to realize that the time is going to pass anyway.  I may only lose a little bit each week.  I won’t see instant results, but as long as I am improving each week, I can’t ask or expect anything else.

Here are my current results.  As of last Monday, July 15th, 2013, I had lost just under 7 pounds (6.6 to be exact).  As of Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, I had lost 27.5 inches all over (measurements for tummy, hips, thighs, upper arms, forearms, neck, bust and calves).  Do I wish I had lost more weight?  Of course, but can I argue with 27.5 inches?  No.  I think it’s great.  I am building muscle too and I have improved my weight and inch loss each week.  As long as I’m continuing to lose each week, I will stay happy, although I realize that  there will come times/weeks when I don’t show any loss.  It happens to everyone.

My hope is that I continue to see the same inch loss each week through the end of August.

So, that being said, time for a recipe.  I still haven’t perfected a second cucumber soup recipe, but I have discovered this lovely salad that I can eat unlimited quantities of and I want to share it with you.

Ingredients

4 cups of cucumber, peeled and diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 cup of red onion, finely diced

1 cup of black eyed peas or British peas (canned)

2 Tablespoons of black olives, chopped

½ a cup of crumbled feta or salad cheese

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon of Italian seasonings

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Toss everything together in a bowl.  Refrigerate.  Serve cold.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from the recipe here: Cucumber Black Eyed Pea Salad 

About the Author

Beth Lytle works with The Site Gardener as copywriter and editor, project manager, and marketing director.  She also works on several other ongoing projects, including Seen It MagazineTranscription Connection, her Winded Gypsy expat blog and varying small projects.  Beth is also a distributor of It Works! Body wraps for weight loss.  Visit her site at http://slimmingireland.myitworks.com for further information.  Connect with Beth on Facebook for constant updates to her projects.

The Great Bacon Hunt in Dublin


By Beth Lytle

bacon_main

Hello Everyone!  It’s been a while since I posted on here.  When you visited me last, I was living in Frankfurt, Germany and I was busy telling you what it was like as an American living in Germany.  Well, it’s been a busy year.  Since then, I relocated to Dublin, Ireland.

Now that I’ve been here a year, I’ve decided there are a lot of things I have to say about Dublin.  For one thing, even though I didn’t have problems getting around Frankfurt as an English-speaking person, it is, of course, much easier in an English-speaking country.

One thing my family has learned since being here is that we’re not big fans of rashers, the UK/Irish version of bacon.  Since bacon is one of our all-time favorite foods, I began doing some research on the subject.  I’ve also discovered where you can find bacon in Dublin.  Even though there are not many places, you can actually find bacon all over Dublin.

Here’s a bit of background information about bacon.  It will help you understand why an American might find rashers to be a bit off.  In the United States, the majority of bacon is prepared from the pork belly.  In other parts of the world, it is prepared from several different cuts of meat, usually from the back and sides.

So, let’s get on to where you can find the bacon you’re looking for in Dublin.  There are three main places we buy our bacon from here.  The first place is Tesco, but it’s not just any Tesco.  In fact, many Tesco’s do not carry what we’re looking for.  The Tesco we buy it from is the Tesco on Navan Road (next to the Maple Centre).  What we buy there is actually called Pancetta.  It looks and tastes like American bacon.  The brand we get is Sol.  It can be found usually in an end cap of a refrigeration aisle across from the deli section.  Despite the fact that we always find it there and that we order our groceries from that particular store, it does not show up on Tesco’s online ordering.

Maple Centre

Next, you can buy bacon from the Fresh Market in Smithfield.  Sometimes they have it, sometimes they don’t.  You’ll find it to the right of the refrigerated Polish section if they do have it.  As far as I can tell, they stock two different brands.  The brand names are Espina Bacon and Campofrio Bacon.  We just found these brands, so I haven’t tried the Campofrio brand, but I cooked up the Espina brand yesterday.  It claims to be lower in fat and was okay, but even when cooked at a low temperature, it cooked up pretty crispy.  So far, my preference is the Pancetta from the Navan Road Tesco.

Fresh Market Photo

Finally, you can get bacon from Marks & Spencer.  They have a couple of different types of brands.  Unfortunately I haven’t bought any from there lately, so I don’t have the brand names or photos.  We get it from the M&S at the Jervis Shopping Centre.

Jervis Shopping Centre

Have you found other places in Dublin that you get your American-style bacon?  Post a comment letting us know where!  I will make changes to this article as I come across more information, because, yes, bacon is that important!

About the Author

Beth Lytle works with The Site Gardener as copywriter and editor, project manager, and marketing director.  She also works on several other ongoing projects, including Seen It MagazineTranscription Connection, her Winded Gypsy expat blog and varying small projects.  Connect with Beth on Facebook for constant updates to her projects.

2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

TRACKING THE IP ADDRESS OF AN EMAIL SENDER


Have you ever wondered how to track the IP address of an email sender?  Doing so can be extremely helpful in helping to determine if someone is trying to scam you.  It’s something I’ve begun doing since attempting to both find a sublet and also find someone to sublease our apartment.

For most email addresses, you can look up the email header.  If you have a Yahoo email address, right click on the email in your Inbox.  Choose View Full Header.  What at first looks like a bunch of gibberish, will pop up in a small screen.

If you’re using Gmail, click the inverted triangle that’s displayed next to Reply.  Click Show Original.  If you use Hotmail, right click on the email and select View Message Source.

AOL uses a slightly different process.  Open the email and click the Action button at the top.  Choose View Message Source.

Once you have the full header information, you can read through it in order to find the IP address, but keep in mind that this will only work for emails other than Gmail.  For security purposes, Gmail keeps the ID of the sender confidential.  Find where it says Received: – the IP address will be listed after it.  If Received: is listed more than once, look at the last one.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at or you don’t feel like reading through the header, you can copy and paste the information using a website that will read it for you.  Try IP Address Location  or Arul’s Tech Info.

I researched all of the above information and of course came to a dead end, because Mr. Kehoe was using a Gmail account.  That’s when I came across an awesome free site called SpyPigSpyPig makes it even easier.  Simply plug in your email address and copy and paste the subject information from the email you’re about to send and want to track into the provided space.  You now have two options.  You can either choose one of the icon pictures provided or upload your own from your computer.  If you’re going to use one of theirs, I would go with the white square, because it blends in better with the email so that the person doesn’t know you’re tracking them.  The best option is for you to use your own (a smiley face or some other small icon that looks like it is part of your email).

Once you tell it to generate your SpyPig, you’ll have 60 seconds to copy the image that it generates and put it into the body of the email.  I found that this works best if I have the email open and ready to send.  Simply right click on the SpyPig and choose Copy.  Choose a spot within the email (if it’s the white square, put it at the end), right click and select Paste.  The image will be pasted directly into the body of the email.  Click Send and wait.

Once the email is opened, SpyPig will track it.  You’ll receive a notification in your email from SpyPig letting you know that the email has been read, as well as how many times it’s been opened and the IP address of the sender.  It will also give you an approximate location and information about the sender.  If you’re worried about a scammer, this is one of the fastest ways to find out if they’re telling you the truth.

If you want to go a step further, take the IP address and search for more information on it.  You can do this by going to sites that allow you to search for information about an IP address.  UltraTools has a great selection of tracking tools and you can use their IP-Geo Location Tracking Tool for free.

When I searched for the IP address of my apartment scammer, I found a bit more specific information than SpyPig:

Continent: Africa

Country: Nigeria

Country Code: NG

Country CF: 86

Region:

State: Lagos

State Code:

State CF: 23

DMA:

MSA:

City: Lagos

Postal Code: 100002

Timezone: Greenwich Mean Time

Area Code:

City CF: 23

Latitude: 6.435127991

Longitude: 3.416063057

If you’re dealing with emails that could be potential scammers, don’t waste time emailing back and forth.  Instead, implant a SpyPig tracker into all emails that could potentially be scammers.  Now that I’ve discovered this online tool, I put one in all apartment rental related emails.  That way I don’t waste time answering questions or getting my hopes up about a potential opportunity.  I can weed out the scammers immediately.

Worried about how accurate SpyPig is?  Well, it worked on me.  Before I used it I tried it on an email to myself and it pinpointed my location exactly.  It even listed my Internet provider.  Good luck and keep checking back this week for more information about tracking down online scammers.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there will be times that SpyPig doesn’t work.  For example, if one or both of you are not using an HTML-formatted email.  For the purposes of tracking Gmail messages, it worked great for me.

Coming Up:  Look for the next post:  ARE THESE APARTMENT PHOTOS LEGITIMATE?  LEARN HOW TO DO A SIMPLE ONLINE CHECK – COMING SOON!

Spotting an Online Scammer May Not Be As Easy As You Think: Read This to Learn How to Really Protect Yourself!


Do you think you that it would be easy for you to spot an online scammer?  Have you received every poorly written email in the book trying to get your personal information?  What if it wasn’t so simple to determine that you were being scammed?  Perhaps this scammer is better educated than the usual con artists!  It was bound to happen.  It was inevitable that they’d eventually get smarter.  How can you protect yourself?  Read on to find out about my run-in with a very good con artist from South Africa and how I avoided being scammed.  I must apologize in advance, for this post reads more like a short essay.  It’s lengthy, but it’s important that you have all the information.  For the next week or so I plan to make additional posts to this blog detailing the steps I took to catch this seemingly legitimate landlord. 

The steps I used to investigate him don’t seem to be common knowledge on the web.  I found nothing about these resources on any of the typical scammer sites.  These resources have come together from my own research and testing, so you can be sure that at this time, this is the best, up-to-date way of catching a scammer.  This information will also help you find out immediately if you are being scammed, so that you don’t waste a lot of time conversing back and forth with these idiots.  Good luck and if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.  

So we’re on to a new adventure (not necessarily by choice, but we’re making the best of it).  We’ve been in Germany since February, 2011.  I understood that we could be here for up to three months with our entry stamp, but once we were here we started dealing with a branch of immigration who said getting a visa was not a concern at the time (we had left all of our paperwork in Egypt and had to have some friends pick it up and bring it back to the U.S., so it could be mailed to us here).  

We got our paperwork in the mail in November of 2011 and tried for weeks to make a visa appointment, but could not get a hold of the woman we were instructed to deal with.  Tony just went in and they told him that even though he has been here on a medical visa, there was no longer a need for his family to remain here with him.  In order to rectify the situation, we all needed to leave the country for three months, return and re-apply.  They gave us one month to prepare for this.  They tried everything to keep us here, but there was nothing they could do.  They did not penalize us fee-wise like they should have and gave us a full month, rather than five days, to make plans. 

The dilemma is that if Graywyn and I leave ahead of Tony (because his medical visa does not run out until May), our three months begins when we leave.  His wouldn’t begin until he left, so we decided to leave together.  He is not released to travel by his doctors, who were very upset at this news and also tried everything to keep us all here.  His doctor finally signed off on it, but only for him to travel by plane one to two hours (he was not happy about even allowing this).  That meant that we had to pretty much stay within Europe.  

We researched a lot of places and finally decided on Dublin, Ireland.  We’re set to leave on Saturday, March 30th.  I plan to continue to post about Germany, but will also be adding Ireland posts too.  Surprisingly, I sent Tony’s resume/CV off to a lot of restaurants and landed him three interviews within two hours.  So we may be there three months or longer, who knows.  

In searching for short term rentals, I was faced with an array of online scams.  It wasn’t so long ago in Frankfurt that I was faced with the same.  The latest apartment scam (for renters) is to offer an apartment or house in a really nice area for an incredibly low price.  Sometimes ads are copied directly from real ads (including pictures).  Sometimes pictures are just taken from various sites across the net.  

Normally I think of myself as someone who isn’t easily scammed online, but I have to say that I dealt with a new breed of South African scammers over the past couple of weeks.  The scammer I dealt with was completely different than the ones I’ve seen in the past.  His emails were written in perfect English (that made sense), he was not pushy, asked for a very reasonable deposit and did not bless me or tell me he’d mail me the keys after I wired him payment.  

He responded to an ad that I posted on the Dublin Craigslist.  He told me had an apartment in Dublin 2 on Pearse Street for 700 Euros a month, requiring a 400 Euro deposit.  This was precisely in the area we wanted to be in, so I emailed him back and asked him about nearby public transportation, etc.  He promptly responded, giving me a very detailed description of what was within walking distance of the area.  Here was his response: 

Hello Beth,

It is a two bed apartment and the refundable security deposit is EUR400.

Yes three to four months rental is okay.You will pay extra EUR35 for
internet monthly

The apartment is located on Pearse Street, D2 Dublin

Only a 5 minute walk to Trinity College and Dublin Tourism Centre

Grand Canal Dock Dart Station and Heuston Train Station,Connolly Train
Station and The 02 Arena are within few minutes walk

Dublin Castle, National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology and Jameson
Distillery are within short walk.

Dublin airport(DUB) is about 17 minutes drive away

I will look forward to your reply.

Best,

Kelly

 

I emailed him immediately and asked him for a phone number so that I could call him.   A short while later he emailed me that he was traveling at the moment and was heading to the United States to take care of some family matters, but that he would return in a week.  He said he’d give me a call once he arrived in the U.S. in the next day or so.  True to his word, he called our Skype number and left a voicemail message.  Although he called when I asked him to, I missed his call by a few minutes and when I realized he had called, I attempted to return his call (yes, it was a U.S. number), but couldn’t get a hold of him.  I then saw that he emailed me, saying that he was tired from his flight and was going to be getting some sleep, but would try again.  

Keep in mind that we started mailing back and forth around March 1st and over the course of a couple of weeks, we exchanged some 80 emails between the two of us.  I did not hear much from him, but he always answered my messages.  After about a week and a half, he told me that it had taken him a bit longer in the U.S. than he had planned, but that he had returned to London and would be traveling on to Dublin soon.  He also assured me that he would be in Dublin when we got there to get us into the apartment.  

I asked him what we needed to do to secure the apartment and he said he needed a signed lease, which he emailed me (I’m family with leases and he emailed me a Word document, rather than copying and pasting it into the body of the email like so many scammers do; it read as a legal agreement to my eyes), and said that he only required the 400 Euro deposit and that we could take care of the rent when we got there.  He said he wanted me to Western Union him the money.  This, of course, was the first warning bell.

 I told him that I really didn’t want to use Western Union and couldn’t I wire transfer the money directly into his bank account, but he said he didn’t feel comfortable doing that because of identity theft.  I then researched apartment rental scams and found a lot of information about how much landlords are also getting scammed.  At this point, I began searching all of the online scam warning sites, including scanning the lists of known scammer’s names and email addresses.  I could find nothing about him.  In a previous email I asked him if he could tell me more about himself and he told me that the apartment was owned by him and his wife and that they were both Irish/Canadians.  When I researched his name (Kelly Kehoe), I found this to be a somewhat common name for Irish/Canadians.  

The Western Union thing continued to nag at us, but by all online scammer standards, this didn’t fit the profile.  He provided me with his full name and address in the UK, including a UK phone number.  When I continued to argue about our reservations, he pointed out that he needed to bring his identification to collect the money and that he could only collect it in the UK (I was not convinced that this was so).  The next trouble started when we tried to call his UK number.  We could not get it to connect.  He insisted that he was receiving calls just fine.  I never got it to work and he later claimed that he tried to call me, but also could not get through.  

I then began researching Ireland rental scams and found a lot of information about them.  Again, his scam didn’t fit the profile.  I also researched landlord/tenant rights and tried to find information about checking on the legitimacy of a landlord.  I could not find anything.  The only thing I could find was that landlords have to be registered and that all rental properties also need to be registered.  I was able to find a list from December, 2011 of all the properties that were listed as registered rentals in Dublin.  After a couple of hours scanning down the list, which was in no particular order, I found the property address he had given me and everything matched up to what he said.  It was a registered rental property.  That made me feel slightly better, but then I found information about a form that needs to be filled out when a tenant moves in and that a 60 Euro fee has to be paid. 

 I emailed him and asked him about this form.  He told me it was already taken care of and to not worry about it (I even offered to pay for this with the deposit, but he did not rise to the bait).  When then called the police department closest to the rental address and inquired as to whether or not there have been any recent scams for that address.  We were told no and also that there was no way to check on the landlord’s name.  

I then came across a website that can sometimes be used to help identify apartment rental scams.  It’s a free site that allows you to upload photos from the ad into the site.  The photo is then checked to see if it has been listed anywhere else on the Internet.  It doesn’t search the name of the photo, but rather looks for the image itself (look for link below).  I checked all of the photos he gave me after reading an article about a woman nearly falling for a scam in the UK who also used this site and discovered that the photos her scammer had sent her were from a legitimate ad on a different site.  The scammer had even used the same ad description, but had lowered the price (making it nearly irresistible).  

Keep in mind that this site isn’t full proof.  In fact, I also loaded pictures of our own apartment, which had very recently been posted on several ad sites and the site could not find them.  I was successful in finding the picture I use for my blog, Facebook, ETC, but of all the places I have this same photo posted, the site only recognized Gather.  

So, I continued to research and at this point, “Kelly” told me that it was fine if we didn’t want it, he would rent it to somebody else.  It was then that I decided that I needed to do some research on tracking emails.  I learned that it is relatively easy to get the IP address from most email providers; all, but Gmail.  Gmail apparently uses random IP addresses, making it difficult to trace it by looking at the header of the email.  I ultimately did find a better way to track the email and I was successful in discovering that the emails were originating from South Africa (I will explain how I did this below).  It’s a simple process and anyone can do it.  

Now I began researching his UK phone number and once I did, I found that the reason the number wouldn’t work was because it was a forwarded number through a well-known service in the UK and that these numbers are very rarely used legitimately (only for some business purposes, but definitely not personal).  When I looked into the U.S. number he’d called me with, I found similar information.  

Next, we called the police department in Dublin back and we updated them with this new found information for their records, so that if anyone else was smart enough to check on it with them, they would at least have the information.  We gave the officer the name and email address “Kelly” was using, the address of the property he was claiming he was renting and the IP address and location information from the tracker.  I also submitted this information to some of the more popular scammer lists. 

So that’s it.  This one was particularly difficult to crack, but I wanted to share this story with those of you out there (no matter where you are), because it’s important that you know that not all the scams will be easy to spot and some of them will take a great deal of investigation on your part.  The good news is that you can do this for free online if you know what to look for.  The better news is that I’m more than happy and willing to share this information with you.  After reading through this extremely long post, I’ve decided that it would be better to go over each step for tracking down a scammer as a post.  I will work on posting this information throughout the week, so follow me to ensure you get all the information. 

The scammer’s information:

Alias:  Kelly Kehoe

Email: Kelly.kk70@gmail.com

IP Address:  41.206.12.7

Provided UK Address:  83 Larch Crescent, Hayes, Greater London UB4 9EB, UK

Actual Location:  Nigeria

Provided UK Phone:  +447024061786

Provided U.S. Phone:  615-732-4701

Property in Question:  45 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

 

Coming Up:  Look for the next post:  TRACKING THE IP ADDRESS OF AN EMAIL SENDER – COMING SOON! 

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