Online rental listings are an extremely convenient way of finding rental properties around campus, but as with all products and services, wherever there are listings or reviews, there are usually also scams.
Rental listings can be susceptible to scamming.
They tell you to wire money to secure the rental
This may be a sign of a scam. Wiring money is the same as sending cash - once you send it, you are unable to get it back. For this reason, we recommend that you do not wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, or first month’s rent.
They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease
It is not a good idea to send money to someone you’ve never met in person and for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, see if you can arrange someone you trust to go and confirm that the property is a genuine rental. In addition to setting up a meeting, do a search on the owner and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, this may be a clue it is a scam.
They say they’re out of the country
But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or an “agent” working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. Don’t send money to them overseas. If you can’t meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking.
For more information about how to recognise, avoid and report scams, visit SCAMwatch.