I am planning to move to Munich / Germany for graduate studies. However, moving to a new country is a daunting task. None the less, I am excited about moving and studying in TUM. In the post, I want to share my experience with scammers I had to deal with while trying to rent a flat. I hope that this post will help you evade these scammers. (Please note that these scammers are not limited to one country or one Facebook group.) At the end of the post, I added some general suggestions to identify a scammer.
Here are the phone numbers of the scammers I faced:
Here are the some the photos of the scammers (profile photos used in whatsapp) :
The scammers I faced were a part of a big scamming group and they were intelligent. I talked to them on the phone and messaged them for hours. I talked separately to a scammer who acted like a landlord and the scammer who acted like a tenant. However, it was really difficult to understand that they were scammers.
3 Warnings Against Scammers
Number 1: If a landlord/landlady or WG (shared flat common in Germany) tenant is asking money without seeing you in person, she/he is likely to be a scammer.
Put yourself in the place of a tenant or a landlord/landlady, would you allow a person you have never seen before to rent your house or ask for money without ever seeing them in person. Most of the scammers I faced asked for documents or money before they met me in person. I was in a hurry but still did not send them money or documents. In all of the cases, the person was a scammer.
Number 2: If a landlord/landlady or WG tenant is calling or messaging you from a foreign or unknown number.
Most of the scammers I faced called me from a foreign number (for example Spanish number called when the person was renting out a flat in Munich / Germany). This should immediately alert you! It is highly unlikely that a landlord/landlady would call you from a different country.
Number 3: If a landlord/landlady or WG tenant is not giving you their number but only contacting through email.
A scammer is easy to identify when he/she does not share his / her phone number. After all, you are renting their house or will live with them, and only talking through email is not enough to build trust for either side.
Please be careful about these signs of a scammer. However, please also note any abnormal behavior and talk to foreign offices or officials about the procedures that you are not familiar with. Especially be careful about untraceable money transfers like cryptocurrency payments, and always see the flat before renting.