Fraudsters target student housing
False advertisements have appeared on the LiU notice board. Now Kårservice, the student unions' own service organisation, warn that more attempts at fraud have been posted aimed at getting students to pay for non-existent apartments.
“Fraudulent attempts have increased. Last year, we identified only one case on LiU's notice board and on Blocket, a free classifieds website. Last month, we removed four ads on LiU's notice board,” says Joanna Rutkowska, property manager at Kårservice.
“It is nothing short of diabolical. Students perceive the notice board as credible since it is comes under the confines of Linköping University (LiU). The ads appear credible, so if you're not used to reading ads then it is difficult to discern the scams from the genuine articles. It hurts when a student gets cheated out of several thousand crowns and many feel ashamed that they were scammed and consequently are reluctant to file a police report.”
The recent published ads were written in English and the advertiser, for example, claims to live in England with a mother in Linkoping whose apartment they want to sublet since she has passed away.
It is critical that respondents be on their guard when responding to the advertiser:
“A standard answer has been deployed in several ads. They ask the prospective tenant to pay a large sum of money to prove that they are seriously interested, around 6000 crowns. In addition they sometimes ask students to scan their passports or ID cards and email them back.”
Rutkowska warns students when house hunting:
- never pay anything prior to signing a contract
- never send any identification or identification documents
“If they get hold of those documents, they can be used to lure other housing applicants.
This season mortgage fraudsters begun to respond to ads where the students themselves were looking for housing. Previously, the fraudsters have been content to publish their own ads.
On the Kårservice pages more information is available about scams and blog examples of several of the fake ads.
If the students housing situation was in better shape then the fraudsters would not receive the same opportunity to lure house hunters.
How many more homes do Kårservice and Student Accommodation in order to consider the situation resolved?
“In principle, all we can get. At least 200. As far as we can determine autumn will be tougher than ever. Yet it could subside if people were willing to sublet for just a week or two in August. A lot of students are denied access to their apartments until the first of September, however studies begin a few weeks prior to that,” Rutkowska explains.
And, she says that, like other years, the lack of housing tends to be resolved one way or another in a provisional way.
“The situation is always resolved. So far no LiU student has had to pitch a tent.”
The following (unedited) e-mails are current examples where the person offering the apartment asks an applicant to send a copy of their passport. However if you send a copy of your passport the fraudster can then make use of your name and the copy to lure the next victim.
Actual scam emails
I am a register member of http://www.student.liu.se where i found your advert. I have a Beautiful spacious three bedrooms apartment for rent at Linköping.
Amazingly peaceful and quiet area, this light filled apartment offers a desirable. it is close proximity to University, city center, all amenities and transport links. this apartment has all the trimmings. It is Well furnished apartment, en suite bathrooms and toilet. Accommodation - Quitetly set at the rear of the block, this bright contemporary apartment offers Three bedrooms with a built and fitted modern appliances Like- TV, fridge-freezer, washing machine, microwave, dishwasher, internet speed, combined lounge dining, kitchen, gas cooking, modern bathroom, toilet and air-conditioning. Very Convenience for student use and professional.
This apartment becomes available for pretty easy going student,professional and couples.
Please feel free to get in touch with any questions.
Thanks for your response updated. you really sound great.....I will like to know where you are from and when you will be coming to the flat ? Am confidently assuring you that you will be more than satisfied when you come into the flat while you will have your private bathroom . I attached the picture of the apartment for viewing. each bedroom have it own private bathroom and toilet
The exact address is : Vallmogatan 4, 582 46 Linköping, Sweden
The lease ll be Euro300 /per month / per room including the utilities,fridge-freezer,oven, washing machine, dryer, gas cooker,microwave, dishwasher, electricity bill, Internet charges and others bills.---Euro700 for the security deposit which is refundable during the departure time from the room. since there is a perfect procedure that we both have to undergo before you can proceed with the payment.
Thanks for your prompt response. Never mind, the apartment can be reserve and secure for you till your arrival date . I am María Martínez Sánchez by name, Originally from Spain. Apartment is very close to city center, public transportation and supermarket . However, If you really have interest in the apartment kindly let me have this request below.
-YOUR EXACT ARRIVAL DATE
-YOUR DEPARTURE DATE,
-YOUR CURRENT ADDRESS
-YOUR CURRENT CONTACT PHONE NUMBER
-SCANNED COPY OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT ID,
So that i can quickly instruct our family lawyer to prepare the tenant agreement form for you to be assure that you are dealing with the right person and to see the terms and condition of the contract and if you are okay with the terms and condition then you can proceed with the one month rent to my mother in United Kingdom via Bank account so that the rooms can be reserve for you till your arrival date because there are a lot of people that also have interest in renting the apartment ,but my mother prefer the most serious person who pay her first.
The signed agreement form will be send to you first through attached mail(with the scanned page of my international passport) for you to read and understand,after which you will proceed with the payment ,i 'll now send you the original copy through a registered courier to your address for you to sign and bring along with you when moving in. The apartment belongs to my late father and my mother have been managing and maintaining the apartment,but she is presently in Winchester due to her work,and i also work in a calling center too.
María Martínez Sánchez
Last updated: 2012-05-31