Fraudsters are targeting college and university students ahead of the start of the new term with fake lettings in local accommodation, taking advantage of huge demand to collect fees up front to secure a deposit.
Autumn months see a big rise in rental market properties, with first-year freshers and returning students looking online to find houses for let. Bogus adverts appearing on a series of website are offering houses which are already rented out to other tenants, not owned by the landlord or donâ€™t evenÂ exist in the area advertised.
Fraudsters are advertising properties to rent at attractive rates and in excellent locations to lure in victims. Adverts will seem genuine and are accompanied by photos and contact information. However, fake landlords then trickÂ victims who show interest into handing over a fee even before theyâ€™ve had a chance to view the house or flat, claiming the property is in high demand and will be off the market if they donâ€™t act fast.
If youâ€™re searching for student accommodation:
If a landlord requests money upfront:
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.