Getting scammed is something that happens in big cities, on sketchy websites and when you’re trying this new gin-tonic diet that REALLY WORKS!>! But nowadays you can also get scammed when looking for a room in Wageningen. Fresh master student Giacomo found out when he got tricked into transferring a whole lot of money for a room that did not exist.
” I was getting a bit desperate with my housing situation” Giacomo admits, “So I just applied for a whole lot of houses at a whole lot of websites: Kamernet, Housing Desk, Idealis etc. You name it. In that way, when I received an email that said they had a room available, I did not even check where the email came from.”
In the email the student named ‘Pool Jamie Joy’ explained she was not around in Wageningen at this moment: ” She was on exchange, therefore, I could not visit the room. In stead, she proposed that she would send me the key, if I would pay the rent and deposit. “
At this point the first alarm bells should have rung. ” I was asked to transfer the money through money gram”, which is infamous for its’ nontransparent services and use in phishing scams. ” So I insisted on transferring rent to a normal European IBAN account. She told me I could send the money to Gloria Enabulele who was supposedly a friend of hers. In hindsight I was perhaps a bit naive.”
So I waited for the keys to arrive… They didn’t.
“I asked when my keys would arrive, but she told me she had yet to receive the money. I couldn’t believe it! I told her to show a print of her bank account, but obviously this was refused, in stead she told me I should also pay the second month’s rent.”
“I repeated that I first wanted my keys and a print of her bank account, but after some emailing up and down, it slowly became silent. It took me a while before I realized I was never going to see my money back.”
“I guess the lesson is you are never to aware of things, even if you are in countries where you wouldn’t expect things like these to happen keep an eye open, don’t be give to much trust out and mostly: Don’t send out money without seeing an apartment in person beforehand.”