Be Careful of these Common Scams
Use caution when you create roommate and sublet ads online. The storylines will differ but in general a scammer might contact you about your roommate or sublet ad in an attempt to steal your money and commit fraud.
Common Rental Scam Scenario:
- You are emailed about your ad and asked to provide information about the property, including price.
- The individual also might ask for your personal information, like your full name, address, and bank account number.
- The individual will send you a certified check or money order to cover rent and/or security deposit.
- The check will be more than the amount required under the lease or sublease.
- The individual asks you send the excess money back to him/her.
- You send the money back but the individual's check bounces, leaving you without your money.
- The individual is eager to send you money for the apartment/room without seeing it, talking to your roommates, or talking to your landlord.
- You receive a certified check or money order for more than the amount that you agreed upon with the subtenant.
- You are asked to wire funds or send money orders to the subtenant.
- The subtenant is not willing to provide basic identifying information, including a copy of license, SSN, references and credit reports.
- The subtenant asks you to handle the sublease without informing your landlord (this is done to sidestep the background check process).
How to Protect Yourself:
- Deal locally with the person, and actually meet them. Avoid individuals that claim they cannot meet you in-person, or say someone else will meet you instead.
- Don’t wire funds and avoid cashier’s checks. Any mention of money, money orders, cashier’s checks, wire transfers, or bank accounts in the first email is very suspicious.
- Check the individual's references (like past landlords or employers). Do a Google search on the person's name and email and see if it has been used in past scams.
- Ask the individual for his or her phone number, full name, and employer verification. If the individual becomes angry or won't give you information, it's probably a scam. Stop communicating with the individual.
- Refuse over-payment.
- Do not share your personal information unless you’ve confirmed the individual’s name and personal information.
Be wary of these contacts:
- firstname.lastname@example.org // 1 (985) 284-4386 // Martin Brent
- email@example.com // 737-219-7612
- Minjeong Ki firstname.lastname@example.org
- email@example.com // (929) 454-5791
- firstname.lastname@example.org // 415-943-3019
- email@example.com // 415-680-3520
- firstname.lastname@example.org // 713-892-4822
- email@example.com // 914-904-7792
- firstname.lastname@example.org //415-680-3520
For more information about common rental scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page.