An increase in fraud attempts have been seen world-wide, unfortunately. Innocent and unsuspecting people have been targeted through phone calls, texts and email messages. It's become important to keep up-to-date on typical scams and protect ourselves.
Most students using Places4Students.com have found it to be a safe and convenient way to find a place to live while attending college or university. However, as with all websites recently, we occasionally receive reports of scams and fraud attempts.
Our staff have always been proactive in dealing with such issues online by educating schools and their students on how to identify and handle scams or fraud attempts. Most contacts are initiated through email and typically there are a few ‘flags’ that stand out. The following information will help students and parents to identify potentially fraudulent emails.
The typical scam targetting students is presented as the "landlord being out-of-country and unable to show the property personally".
A deposit is requested first, before the student can view the property.
The landlord states an “agency” will show the property and deliver the keys after a deposit is received.
Wired funds are requested by the landlord (using Western Union or any other carrier).
Financial information is requested before signing a lease (checking account number, home address, etc.)
Personal information such as pictures, SSN/SIN, passport number, etc. are requested.
The email contains spelling and grammatical errors, and the correspondence is quite lengthy with unrelated details included.
Your instincts feel uncomfortable. If something seems strange or you don't feel completely comfortable with the landlord, discontinue all communications.
These are all typical scammer behavior and not normally part of the rental process, especially during initial discussions with a landlord to view a property.
I have been in communication with a scammer who is pretending to be a landlord. What should I do?
1) Don't respond any longer
Often times your best recourse is to not respond to the scam email any longer. In most cases, scammers will send emails out to hundreds of people, hoping that one or two will reply and fall victim to their scam. If you do not reply to them, they will usually move on.
2) Block the sender’s email address
This will stop any future correspondence from being received by the sender.
For more information, examples of potentially fraudulent emails and suggestions on how to deal with scam attempts, view our Fraud/Scam Alerts.
The Places4Students.com Team