Once you start your accommodation search you will soon notice that this project is usually both time-consuming and nerve-wrecking due to a scarcity of housing offers in this town. Unfortunately, this unpleasant experience also holds the danger of losing money since some accommodation offers which can be found online are fraud attempts.
In the following we want to give you some information that may help you protecting yourself from fraudulent offers.
Most important of all, please do not make any advance payments without first reaching a binding agreement with the landlord/landlady (unless you do book a holiday apartment or hostel from an official website).
Characteristics of typical fake offers
The offer is too good to be true.
You found the perfect flat and the price is surprisingly cheap compared to similar offers. Maybe you are very lucky – but unfortunately it is more likely that this offer is a scam.
You're asked to make a payment before you are allowed to visit a flat.
It is not common in Germany to ask for a deposit before scheduling a viewing. Even if you are not in Konstanz and are not able to visit a flat before your date of arrival, when the landlord/landlady categorically declines a viewing before any payment is done, it is very likely a scam. When in doubt, you can ask us to get in touch with the landlord/landlady.
The flat is picture-perfect.
If the pictures just look like straight out of a furniture showroom, be sceptical. You can use the reverse image search by Google to expose this scam. Also, check whether the description of the flat fits the pictures.
Receiving the key via Airbnb or a third person after making the payment (often via Western Union).
One very common scam is that your landlord/landlady claims that they live abroad and they just chose you spontaneously for the flat and gave the key to a third person or to Airbnb. You will receive it via mail or at a meeting after paying the deposit and/or first rent. If you are reluctant, the landlord/ landlady often gets quite pushy.
What can you do to protect you from scam?
- If you feel uncomfortable about the behavior of a landlord/landlady, better refrain from renting their flat.
- Be extremely cautious if somebody asks for money before offering a viewing (even if you cannot take the offer).
- If you are unsure whether an offer is scam or not, feel free to send a link or the mail correspondence to email@example.com to receive a second opinion from our housing team.
- The Welcome Centre offers support with looking for flat offers and visiting flats through our student assistants. Please let us know if you are looking for a new place and if you wish our assistance.