As a healthcare traveler, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right housing, especially if it’s your first assignment. A perfect opportunity may finally present itself and you may want to take advantage of it immediately. However, there are several housing scams to be aware of. Using a trustworthy website to find housing, verifying with your recruiter and doing some research of your own will ensure you’re not getting scammed.
Every traveler wants to find affordable and safe housing. As one of the best medical staffing travel agencies, RTG Medical wants our traveling healthcare professionals to know what types of housing scams exist so that if you ever run into any, you’re able to avoid getting scammed. Below are common housing scams, red flags to look out for and how to avoid them when looking for a place to live.
Common housing scams
A good landlord is running a business and will ensure there are good photos to highlight their properties, as well as sufficient information about the property and location. A rental shown in the best light is a good sign that it’s legitimate. When you notice an ad that is short in detail along with blurry photos of the property, it’s probably fake and best to move on to the next. Always take the time to report the ad for your fellow healthcare travelers. Below are the two most common housing scams:
Fake ads often have little information and few photos. If it was a real landlord behind the ad, they would put the work in to make sure the ad contained plenty of info and images to intrigue you. On the other hand, you might notice really nice images that catch your eye, but they will likely follow with information that seems too good to be true. Rental prices should also be consistent with other houses in the area, so if you see tons of amenities for a bargain of a price, it’s most likely a scam.
Identity theft ads
The next type of scam is identity theft. This is when the thief has stolen the identity of the landlord and is posing as them to sell the property and potentially receive money. This type is less obvious than the other, but you should be able to sense that something is off with the “landlord.” If they are unable to show you the place for an odd reason or seem overly urgent for you to choose this place, they could be trying to scam you.
Red flags to look for
When searching for housing, be sure to notice these red flags:
A dramatic storyline as to why the landlord cannot meet you
If they are on vacation, stuck overseas or cannot meet because they are sick, avoid interacting with them any further. Report the ad. Real landlords have a streamlined process making it easy for both parties involved.
Landlord being unable to meet in person
You should always be able to meet the landlord. Even if the housing is in a different state than the landlord, he should have someone in that location to meet with you. If the landlord is always coming up with an excuse to cancel, it’s probably a scammer.
Unusual communication hours
If you see that you’re getting replies to your emails or phone calls at unexpected times like 3 a.m., the person is probably located in a different time zone or overseas and is trying to scam you.
Poorly written emails with European spelling
This is another tell tale sign of scamming. If you have a hard time trying to decipher the email, or if you notice grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, that’s a huge red flag. A real landlord will be sure they come across as professional.
The landlord wants you to wire funds
There are a plethora of ways to make rent payments besides wiring funds. When you wire funds, you are unable to get your money back. Beware of scams through Venmo, as well, and deter the conversation and avoid this scammer.
The use of high-pressure sales tactics
If you’re hearing a lot of, “tons of other people are interested in this property” and “you need to apply as quickly as possible,” it’s likely you’re dealing with a scammer. Reputable landlords go through an application and verification process to get you all set up to move in. If you feel rushed, trust your gut instinct and move on to a different option.
How to avoid housing scams
One way to avoid scams is to use a reputable site. Websites like Travel Nurse Housing and Furnished Finder are two good ones to go through. Furnished Finder requires the landlord to verify their identity before they can post listings.
You can use Google Maps to make sure this house exists where it says it does. You can also run the images on the listing through a Google search to verify that there is no other real listing and that you’re looking at a scam. Scammers are good at their jobs, but you can take these precautions to help ensure you don’t get scammed and that they get caught.
Ensure success with the best medical staffing travel agencies
Being aware of these scams and following these tips is a good way to find real housing. Take your time when looking for housing and be sure to use a reputable site. If you have to, do some sleuthing of your own. As one of the best medical staffing travel agencies, RTG Medical is here to help. Contact us or your recruiter with any questions or concerns.