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How can I recognize a scammer?

Kamernet is a quick and simple way to arrange your housing by contacting multiple roommates and landlords. Most of these landlords have good intentions, are legitimate and reliable. Unfortunately, there is a small group that want to take advantage of the trust people have in Kamernet. This group consist of people that we call scammers. In this article, we wish to inform you in what scammers are, how you can recognize them, what you should do if you encounter them and what Kamernet does to stop them. 

 

How do I recognize a scammer?

Scammers are people that try abuse a persons good intentions and scam you to steal your money and personal information. It is a form of online fraud where scammers try to fool you to transfer money to them. Generally, a scammer offers a room, studio or appartement on a great location for an even greater price. You can recognize a scammer by minding these points:

  • It almost always concerns a person in a foreign country

  • A scammer will ask you to pay a deposit on the property (perhaps even some months advanced rent), even before you have viewed the house.

  • A scammer will ask you to transfer money via semi-anonymous services like Western Union, MoneyGram and other well known housing websites. They do this because money transfers are not always traceable via these services. They can also ask you to send the money via TNT or UPS and that upon receiving the money they send the keys. 
  • ​A scammer will send you a website that looks reliable, this is however a fake copy of a well known housing website. Make sure that it is a secure website and when in doubt, contact us
  • A scammer will ask you to continue your communication via a different platform than Kamernet, for example e-mail or Skype

  • A scammer will not answer your question clearly or will ignore them

  • A scammer is not fluent in Dutch or prefers English. Either way, the message of the scammer will resemble a text that was translated online (Google Translate)
  • ​A scammer sends you a website that is a copy of a known website, the URL is different from the original website. Kamernet always has .nl in the URL and starts with https://.


What can I do against scammers?

Sometimes, honest landlords can ask for a deposit or would like to communicate via phone or e-mail as well. Thus, it is important to remember that it usually involves a combination of the points mentioned above. However, if you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a landlord on Kamernet, feel free to contact us. It is always better to be cautious than be sorry in this case. Please always keep the following tips in mind if you search on Kamernet:

  • Always use common sense: if something seems to good to be true, it most likely is the case
  • Make sure that the website is safe, the URL starts with https:// and you can find a "lock" in the address bar.
  • If a landlord is located abroad or asks you to transfer money via Westen Union, Aribnb or Moneygram, notify us directly.

  • Never give anyone an advanced copy of you ID or passport – some might abuse this as well.

  • Remember to always create and sign a rental agreement before you pay

  • Do you have doubts? Always report the potential scammer to us!

When you run into something suspicious on our website please report it trough the report buttons on the website. You can report a scammer at the user page, the advertisement page or the conversation page. Each and every notification of abuse that comes in on Kamernet is registered and checked with caution. This way Kamernet can see how many notifications have been made and what the reason is. If there is indeed abuse, Kamernet will take the right action. Based on the situation, the landlord will either be warned or removed and blocked from the website.

What does Kamernet do to prevent scammers? 

To prevent scammers to become active on our platform, Kamernet screens every new profile, new room advert and any adjustment on both constantly. There is a special team that reviews all changes on our website and blocks scammers before the content is online. This way a lot of scammers never see the light of day on Kamernet. Furthermore, we block IP addresses in some regions, as there are some regions where scammers are really active. Unfortunately, some scammer still pass these strict attempts to block them, usually after several tries.

Each abuse report is registered and checked by Kamernet.nl. We can also see if already more reports of the same abuse have been made and what kind of action has been taken. When the report is about a scammer and the user turns out to be a scammer, we always change the name of the user to ‘blocked user’. This way, people are alerted that the user is not reliable and cannot be trusted.

I have been scammed! What can I do now? 

Have you been scammed? Then go to the police as soon as possible and press charges. Unfortunately, in this case, we can’t do anything for you. However, we will help the police in whatever way we can. You can always send the accusation to us, to keep us informed. Click here to find your nearest police station or to press charges online.

An example of the style of writing from a scammer: 
"You really sound straight forward and sincere, I would love to rent my apartment to you and treat you like my potential tenant, because am sure you are very tidy and neat. Yes I am the landlord of the apartment and I own the property. As regarding the viewing of the apartment, it’s quite unfortunate I don't have anyone to show you around but rest assured that it won’t be an obstacle. You will have to do me a favor of going to the address i sent to you in my first mail and see the apartment from the outside and observe the surroundings neighborhoods of the apartment. I have to be honest with you that i am here in UK with the keys of my apartment and i am willing to hand over the keys to the person that is renting that apartment from me, viewing of the apartment can be arranged when we reach an agreement. Yes it is very much possible to register with the municipality. The only reason am here in the UK with my keys was for the fact that when I left the Country, I had no intention of renting that apartment out because it was home I ever wished for but on getting to the UK, I realized that the apartment needs someone to take care of it and that was why i decided to rent it out. I hope you understand that it is when you have the keys of the apartment that you will have ultimate access to the apartment and be assured that the apartment is rightfully yours so if you are interested in renting my apartment, please share your observations with me after you must have seen the apartment from the outside so that we may enter an agreement". 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Hi, 

"Travel and holidays are a big part of our lives. We love the mountains and skiing and last year we moved to Haute Nendaz, Switzerland to open up a business in tourism. We own a chalet, which at the moment is our main source of income. It was pretty hard, we were very close to giving up but in the end we made it.

At first, the apartment was on sale. Being not very profitable and after further discussion with my husband we decided to rent it. The apartment's address is: ***** The monthly rent is 700 euro with all utilities included. The apartment is furnished and equipped.

The minimum period for renting the apartment is 3 months up to maximum 5 years. Registration to the municipality is possible. We have written out of the municipality so you will register the house as a main tenant, a condition for getting housing allowance. We also have a storage place where you can deposit pieces of furniture so you can bring your own but please keep in mind that you can't store all the apartment's furniture there.

At the moment, it's impossible for both of us to personally show you the apartment due to our busy schedule and chalet administration but this is not a problem because we can use Homeaway's services. They handle rentals for people all over the world providing secure services for both tenants and hosts.

We can offer you more details if you are interested.
Thanks"