Scams for apartment rentals are on the rise. It is therefore more important than ever to research the rental company and ensure its legitimacy.
1. Is the name of the company on the contract?
We have seen many false contracts with names of “companies” such as “charming and comfortable apartment in Time Square” or alternatively “T2-Great alternative to the hotel”. These are not company names but phrases retrieved directly from rental ads.
2. You receive information from multiple email addresses or with different names
If the email address contains a company domain name (to the right of the “@” symbol in an email address), you can then search the company for more information about it.
3. There are errors in rental dates or quoted prices
Most crooks do not bother to change every detail of a scam to another. In addition, they attack so many people that they become confused themselves. Here is a major clue!
4. The directions to get to the apartment do not make sense
Look for the address on Google Maps and check that the directions you have been given are correct. Many scammers do not even know the neighborhoods where they claim to rent apartments. Thus, they have no idea how to get there. A real estate agency or broker will tell you the best way to get to the apartment they rent you.
5. The wording of the contract or the written exchanges with the agent or company includes spelling or grammatical errors
You may also notice many repetitions and / or contradictions. Legitimate companies and brokers are always professionals who check their contracts to avoid mistakes.
If you show up at your destination and realize that you have been scammed:
– You must first, of course, find another home.
– Once installed, it’s time to alert your bank. They will be able to try to stop the payment or to contest it if necessary.
– Keep copies of all your exchanges with the person who has cheated you and a record of all paid amounts and accounts. Information in these documents could help the police stop the scammer.
– File a complaint with the local police to document the incident. Insurance companies often ask for a police report for any alleged robbery. If you have travel insurance, check that you are covered for this type of incident.
In conclusion, follow your instinct and do what tourists are known for: ask questions! Always check the information and indications that are communicated to you and you will avoid scams to rent apartments.