Foreign students fall victim to room fraud again

Foreign students fall victim to room fraud again

For rent: beautiful room on Maastricht canal

25-08-2021 · News

MAASTRICHT. It is the same every year: foreign students sign an online tenancy agreement only to discover once they are in Maastricht that the room doesn’t exist. The police received several reports the past few weeks. There is now a warning on Facebook.

The police have warned foreign students not to transfer money until they have seen the room with their own eyes. Exactly how many students have been duped, is not clear.

In previous years, about ten to fifteen students fell victim, says Maurice Evers, head of Maastricht Housing. “It is the tip of the iceberg. Housing staff in other university towns reach the same conclusion.”

What can be done? “In the Student Services Centre’s newsletter, we warn all applicants against fake rooms, but not everyone reads everything; of course, they are bombarded with information. Let’s be realistic: there will always be crooks and students who fall for their tricks.”

They register on rooms-for-rent sites and then receive an offer. Subsequently, they have to transfer an advance and then hear nothing more.

Evers: “You would hope that for most students alarm bells start to ring when they are asked to transfer money to a non-Dutch account. Also check on Google where the room is exactly. Sometimes it appears to be an industrial estate, so then you know enough. Check out who the owner is as well.”

In England, the deposit no longer goes to the letter, but to an independent body, says Evers. “That makes a difference and may be something that we could consider for the Netherlands too.”

See here a previous scamming case.

Foto Loraine Bodewes

Tags: studenthousing,fraud,instagram

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