Online Apartment Rental Scams

August 10, 2017

The MIT Police have been made aware of recent incidents involving Craigslist apartment scams. This scam is not unique to MIT, it happens everywhere, and we don’t want you to fall victim to this callous scam.

This scam typically involves you looking for rental properties, and are told by the “landlord” via email that they are overseas or away and have to conduct the rental process remotely. Once the prospective tenant fills out a rental application, scammers will request deposit money to be wired to a bank account. Once that money is gone, it’s gone for good.

SUGGESTIONS: Here are some helpful tips for spotting and avoiding apartment scams:

• Ask to see the potential landlord’s ID – record all the information you can from it. Use a browser to search for the landlord’s name. Be sure to add quotes around their name. You can add the words “fraud” or “scam” at the end of your search terms.
• Visit Craigslist Avoiding Scams
• Use reverse directory look up if the person has given you their telephone number. It’s important to double check that they are who they say they are.
• If they don’t ask for an application or permission to check your credit, it is a red flag!
• Research the average rental rates in that area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower.
• Be suspicious if you’re asked to use a wire transfer service.
• Do not provide copies of personal information, like driver’s license, social security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
• Monitor your credit reports for free. Federal law requires each of the three major credit reporting agencies to give you a free credit report-at your request-each year. Visit – the only authorized website for free credit reports.
• Consider additional methods for obtaining a rental, i.e. real estate agent, going through a rental agency, etc.
• Read the Cambridge Police Department’s Crime Prevention and Safety Tips at

If you believe you have been a victim of an online apartment scam, please notify the MIT Police at 617-253-1212; W89, 301 Vassar Street.

Issued by

Sue Fuller-DeAmato
Crime Analyst
MIT Police Department