So be carful!
- It is usually an ad a little too good to be true: accommodation in a great location, beautiful pictures and a cheap rent.
- When you write the so-called owner or tenant, he answers very kindly that he is abroad for a professional purpose (usually in the UK) and he wants to find a trustworthy person who will take care of his accommodation during his absence.
- He will send you a form to fill in looking like this:
RENT APPLICATION FORM
DATE OF BIRTH:_________?
HOW LONG?___________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING your place of Rent__________?
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING?____________?
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN?______________?
IF YOU HAVE A PET,______________?
KIND OF PETS:_____________?
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT?____?
- He may also mention the name of a third person, a business agent or a rental company that will manage all the formalities in his absence.
- After several email exchanges, he will tell you he has a last minute problem and that ultimately will not come to make you visit the apartment.
- He asks you a payment (usually by Western Union) after which he says he will send you the keys of the apartment via express delivery services.
It seems that fraudsters are becoming more inventive and subtle.
So far fraud attempts were mainly apartments but lately more and more scams are for rented rooms.
Beware of offers that seem too interesting and if possible, visit the accommodation before booking or pay a deposit.
If the 1st rental or security deposit is asked, do not pay in Cash and do not send money via Western Union, MoneyGram, etc... and prefer payment through a Swiss bank.
If in doubt, do not hesitate to send us your email exchanges to email@example.com
and we will give our opinion and advice. More info:
Website for Swiss prevention of crime
Swiss TV documentary on scams: www.rts.ch/emissions/abe/4732656-arnaques-au-logement-gros-comme-une-maison.html
Website listing scams http://www.arnaques-internet.info/
Advices of a real estate ads' website http://www.immoscout24.ch/IS24Web/Content/Article.aspx?lng=fr&wl=1&cmsaid=3615