Here are the different criteria that should immediately alert you to a scam:
- The rent is very attractive and lower than the reality of the market.
- The advertiser justifies renting out the property for a small fee on the pretext that he is only interested in helping someone who really needs a place to live, or because it is a flat inherited from his family and whose great sentimental value means that it should not remain unoccupied, at the risk of deteriorating.
- These are photos of a modern, well-furnished flat.
- The advertiser replies to you with an email address different from the one mentioned in the ad. Or the advertiser’s email address has nothing to do with his first and last name (e.g.: the advertiser is Mr John Doe and his email address is simon.robin@…).
- The landlord replies that his property is already rented and refers you to someone else he knows who has another property to offer you.
- The advertiser informs you that it is impossible for him to be present for a visit because he is away on business or because he lives abroad.
- The advertiser asks you by return e-mail for copies of identity documents, income certificates and other personal information. It is also common for the advertiser to claim to be a lawyer or notary. In addition, it is possible that a third person is also mentioned, such as a business agent or a rental company, who would handle all the formalities in his absence.
Paradoxically, the advertiser generally insists more than it is reasonable on protecting himself from a possible scam. They talk about guarantees and protection, make a big deal of it, are sometimes suspicious and even seem to doubt your probity/sincerity.
- The advertiser asks you to make a payment via Western Union, MoneyGram, etc., or to a foreign account. Prefer a payment to a Swiss bank account.
- You will receive a form to fill in 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?
Nom & prénoms :
Ville de résidence actuelle :
Téléphone (Fixe et GSM) :
Situation matrimoniale :
Revenu mensuel approximatif :
Durée de bail :
Qui payera le loyer à chaque fin du mois :
Nombre de personnes à occuper le logement :
- Find out about market prices in the area you are interested in.
- Be aware of the terminology used as well as spelling and syntax errors in the advertisement or in written exchanges. In Switzerland, the type of flat is described in terms of rooms (e.g. a 2.5 room flat).
- Always make sure that you have at least one telephone conversation to check the truthfulness of what is being said and the identity of the landlord. Call the number(s) given in the advert to check that it is a valid number and/or that the person answering is actually the advertiser.
- Visit the accommodation as far as possible. Never pay for a simple visit to the accommodation.
- Do a reverse Google image search using the photos in the advert. If Google finds the same photos for an advertisement for accommodation in Paris or Stockholm, there is no doubt about it!
- If you need to send personal documents, watermark each piece to avoid misuse. The French government website DossierFacile.fr allows you to do this.
- If you still have doubts, write to us at [email protected] and we will try to identify whether this is a scam.
Please write to us as soon as possible at [email protected] and send the following information:
- The advert number, the text of the advert and the photos.
- Any email, WhatsApp or other exchanges you have had with the advertiser.
- The rental agreement and any other documents you have received from the advertiser.