Don’t get Burned by A Housing Scam This Summer

Posted: April 24, 2016 by comm206clark in Uncategorized

52. 24 Hazelton Avenue

Photo taken by Billy Wilson

By Rachel Clark

Living alone over the summer for the first time without parental guidance or supervision can be a challenge for many young adults. Especially at a young age, life has not yet had a chance to teach lessons through experience.

Finding a safe and affordable place to live is probably the most important part of planning a summer away from home. It can also be the most difficult as housing scams against college students are on the rise.

Will Dowsett was looking for houses to sublease near Boston University for his senior year of college. However, since his hometown is in Wisconsin, he had no way to physically look at houses to rent or meet any landlords. This proved to be a big mistake.

After wiring $4,200 to his landlord for rent Dowsett returned to Boston University. When he arrived at the house he thought he was renting, however, there was no one there. “I emailed him, email wasn’t working. He wasn’t answering his phone and I kind of put the pieces together at that point that it was too good to be true,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one. Cambridge police reported 10 similar scams in that area. With little evidence to build a substantial case, it is doubtful that Dowsett will see his $4,200 again or the scammer brought to justice.

Scams like these targeting young college students are so common because students are more vulnerable than the average adult. In order to stay protected from this type of crime it’s important to remain aware and trust any instincts that may be hinting toward a bad decision.

The best way to stay protected from these types of scams is to never pay for anything that you haven’t seen in person.  If a landlord requires a transfer of large amounts of money before you’ve even looked at the house or apartment, that’s a major red flag. This type of approach accounts for 99 percent of Craigslist scam attempts.

It is easy to become a victim. As you go on looking for housing over the summer or even places to rent for next year, always remember that most dependable person is you.

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