How to recognize a scam?
1. It usually is an ad that looks too good to be true. A very well located accommodation, attractive pictures and a cheap rent.
2. When you write to him, the so-called owner or tenant answers very kindly that he is currently abroad for professional reasons (usually in UK), and that he wishes to find a reliable person who will take care of his home during his absence.
3. He sends you a form to complete that looks like that:
RENT APPLICATION FORM.
DATE OF BIRTH:_________?
HOW LONG?___________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING your place of Rent__________?
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING?____________?
4. He also can mention the name of a third person, a business agent or rental agency that will take care of all the paperwork during his absence.
5. After several mail exchanges, he will tell you that he has a last minute emergency and that he is finally unable to come to show you the place.
6. He asks you for a payment (usually by Western Union), following which he claims he will send you the keys to the apartment by express delivery.
It seems that scammers are becoming more and more creative and subtle.
Until now, the attempts of frauds mainly concerned apartments, but lately, we noticed that there are more and more fake ads for student rooms also.
Beware of deals that look too interesting, and, if possible, try to visit the accommodation before booking or paying anything.
If the owner asks you a first rent or the guarantee, try to avoid paying in cash and, especially, do not send money via Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.
In case of doubt, do not hesitate to send your email exchanges to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will advise you.