- How well do I know my correspondent?
- How credible is the story they are telling me?
- Do I feel comfortable talking to this person?
- Does anything sound off?
- Are they asking me to send money via Western Union or Money Gram?
- Are they asking for a copy of my ID?
As a general rule:
- Never send any money in advance
- Do not sign any contract before meeting the landlord and viewing the property
- Do not send a copy of your passport
- We recommend that when communicating with other members on EasyRoommate, you use the site secured inbox. Scammers will always insist that you use your personal email address instead.
- The offer seems too good to be true; amazing pictures, cheap price etc. (search for similar accommodation in the same area for a good guideline on what you can expect to pay)
- The landlord is abroad, or you are dealing with someone who doesn’t actually own the property but is renting it out on their behalf but aren’t a letting agent e.g. ‘friend’ or ‘family member’
- You are asked to provide a lot of personal information/documents before being able to view the room
- Their primary reason for renting is not as a source of income but to not have the property vacant
- Transfer of funds is suggested via Western Union or similar company.
Be careful with emails and texts that look like Easyroommate : in rare cases, scammers use our name and logo to contact Members and non-Members of the site. We will never text or email you to book a viewing, organise a key delivery or collect a rent and deposit payment.
Scammers con money from members advertising rooms by sending payment meant to secure a room remotely, usually by cheque. This will seem above board, until they ask you for all or part of this payment back.
Once you have partially or wholly refunded the payment, you will discover that the initial cheque you received has bounced.
Rental scams do not always involve fake payments directly relating to the rent, they may use associated moving costs as another method. For instance, if your new ‘tenant’ is moving from another country and claims that they have paid for some belongings to be shipped/relocated to your property, they may invent some convoluted story about needing to make a final payment when their shipment arrives, but have unfortunately (and conveniently) had their credit card stolen.
Do not accept payment or deposits from potential tenants or lodgers until you have met them in person or via a video call platform, such as Skype.