Renter/Check Scams

A very common internet based scam that UST community members have fallen victim to over the year's is rental scams.  People will post homes/apartments/sublets to rent, and will be contacted by someone claiming to be an incoming UST student.  These e-mails appear perfectly normal at first, but after discussing terms, the interested party will then offer to send more money than what is being asked for.  The victim is then instructed to keep the necessary amount for a deposit, and then send the difference back to the scammer, or a third party on their behalf.  The victim then receives a check or money order, cashes it, only to later learn the check or money order was fake.

What is particularly unfair about this type of scam is counterfeit checks and money orders look very real, and can even fool bank staff. But under federal law, banks must make deposited funds available quickly. Just because you withdraw the money, doesn’t mean the check is good. It can often take weeks to discovery forgeries. Financial institutions that lose money as a result of cashing a fraudulent check expect to recoup their loss, and this is at the expense of the victim. You are responsible for the transactions you make.

Fake payment scams, as with most scams, by their nature sound very believable.  But there's no reason for anyone to ever offer you more money than what you would ask for when renting space out.