For this reason, scammers take action to take advantage of the situation of people looking for a home, especially if they seek urgently.
Let’s see how these scams are structured and how they can be recognized and avoided.
How to recognize them
This kind of scams in Germany is much more frequent than you think.
The method used seems to always be the same: a beautiful apartment, a shabby price, an owner temporarily out of town and therefore unable to visit the property.
I contacted a gentleman for an apartment in Cologne. The gentleman told me he was in England for work and that he could not let me see the house. He sent me a copy of the contract and a photocopy of his documents, adding that he would send me the keys as soon as I paid. Everything seemed in order.
The emails are often written in English, even if you write in German, and an advance is required to be paid, usually through Western Union, with the promise to take you or send you the keys once the payment has been made and thus having demonstrated your real interest in the home in question.
Once the money is received, however, the owner will disappear into thin air and after some checks, you will find that in reality the apartment for which you paid does not exist or is owned by another person.
The address I was sent was an address in Hamburg. Since I was in the area, I went to see the house from the outside. It was not at all like in the photos of the announcement and it didn’t have the garden as it had been described. It seemed inhabited and I tried to ring the bell. A lady opened to me and I asked for explanations. He replied that the house was his property and that he had never included an ad to rent it.
Martina instead wrote to me telling me about her misadventure while searching for a WG in Berlin(read Martina’s full testimony here).
I used WG to live in Berlin. Initially, my friend and I couldn’t find anything, finally, we find one, we had the flight in 5 days, the owner sends us documents and a contract and then we send him half the money. Needless to say, obviously it was a scam but with the anxiety of arriving and staying without a roof where to stay and trusting the identity documents (“which scammer sends you a copy of your ID card?” We thought). We got screwed.
Even Tagesspiegel reports the news of these scams, far from rare.
Quite authoritative portals such as Immobilienscout24 are often used, where ads are published under a false
To summarize, if the announcement seems “too good to be true”, you are not allowed to view the property, you are asked to pay in advance by Western Union: avoid!
Even if documents and contracts are sent to you, as they are usually faking.
Another feature common to these scam-ads, it seems that there are more or less the same photos in all the ads, even if the houses described are located in different cities.
If you have a doubt go to Google Images, upload the photo that accompanies the description of the house and searches the web: if many house articles appear in different cities but with the same photo it is undoubtedly a scam.
Always pay only after viewing the property, in conjunction with handing over the keys and never anticipating money!
Also, read this article about the rental contract to know how it should be and what should not be missed.
Don’t forget to ask the owner of the house for an identity document when signing the contract, even after you have met him in person.
Ask many questions, don’t feel indiscreet. Asking many questions means protecting oneself and demonstrating one’s seriousness.
And you will also see that if you ask a lot of questions and the announcement that you contacted is actually a scam, the alleged homeowner will not answer you anymore.
We have reached the end of this article. What are your considerations? Have you ever been contacted for a scam attempt? Share your experience with a comment below and if you liked the article, share it with your contacts!