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Student Fraud Warning

14th September, 2009

Students are being warned of the dangers when searching for university accommodation online, as fraudsters continue to take advantage of their vulnerability and eagerness to find somewhere to live for the forthcoming academic year.

This comes from a release issued by the Metropolitan Police’s fraud prevention division who have seen a significant rise in the number of students becoming victims as a result of responding to advertisements for rooms, flats and houses for rent, particularly in the London area.  The criminals carrying out these acts generally scam people by requesting a holding deposit just to view the property and they typically use free to advertise websites where it is harder for them to be tracked down, but there are also other methods which can be found in our online safety section.

The advice from the police is to:

  • Only use letting agencies, websites and landlords that have been approved by the university.
  • Research the property on the internet to make sure that the address and house or flat exists.
  • Do not pay a landlord any money just to view the property.
  • Ensure that the landlord has the right to rent the property.
  • Do not send money via money transfers companies such as Western Union and Moneygram.
  • Do not scan and send copies of driving licenses, passports, wage slips, etc. via the internet.
  • View the property in person before parting with any money.
  • Do not feel pressurised into making a decision.
  • If it feels too good to be true, generally it is. does everything that it can to protect our users from scams, but you should still be vigilant when using the website and make sure that all contact made with landlords is done through our messaging system.