The convenience of searching apartments online brings with it a heightened risk of scams and fraud. Our top priority is the well being, safety and security of all tenants, as we would like to warn you of a potential scam regarding subletting/subleasing apartments.
The potential threat was brought to our attention after a tenant was contacted regarding their online subleasing posting.
The script used in the email matches other roommate scams found online, with adjustments to match their target's current situation. Upon sharing the location of the apartment, our tenant received a check and was informed they would receive instructions for what to do with the excess of money. The tenant described the interaction with the scammer as they, "generally exhibited fishy behavior" after the initial email sender refused to respond to questions during an email exchange.
The idea is that the sublessee sends the sublettor a check with too much money and asks for some repayment before the check clears.
After further investigation, we found that many scams involve sending a check to a person, then having the person send money back before the check completely clears. The Federal Trade Commission states that the FTC "receives tens of thousands of reports each year about fake checks." The FTC’s infographic offers tips to spot rip-offs and what to do if you get a check from someone you don’t know.
What To Do
- Talk to someone you trust and contact your bank before you act.
- Never take a check for more than what is required in the transaction.
- Never send money back to someone who sent you a check.
Report scams immediately and with as much detail as possible (including copies of the communications with the scammer and money transfer details) to your local police department, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), and the Federal Trade Commission.