Student tenants warned of bogus landlord scam

Students looking to arrange rental accommodation have been warned of bogus landlords demanding full payment or large deposits upfront.

The warning comes from online cash payment provider Ukash.

It says that the fraudsters may demand payment in cash or non-card payment methods, including Ukash.

The ‘landlord’ will take deposits from a large number of students looking to rent the property – which may not even belong to the ‘landlord’ – and then disappear, leaving the students out of pocket by potentially huge amounts of money and still without a home.

David Cox of Ukash said: “It is incredibly distressing to learn that students are being targeted by these fraudsters, particularly as money is often already very tight for students.

“Ukash was designed to give consumers a simple and convenient way to make purchases online without the need for a bank account or credit card. But it is being abused by these fraudsters.

“We take the use of Ukash by fraudsters very seriously, with a dedicated team working with law enforcement agencies to provide as much assistance as possible if any scams are identified that use Ukash as a payment method.

“We want to remind people that Ukash should only be used to pay online and at genuine websites, never to pay deposits or the voucher itself handed over to anyone you do not know or trust.”

Ukash also places highly visible warnings on its vouchers and website, and posts warnings of scams on its homepage and twitter feed as soon as it becomes aware of them.

Anyone who realises they have been scammed should contact Ukash immediately on 00800 247 85274, and the company will attempt to block the Ukash code before it is used. They should also report the crime to Action Fraud UK on 0300 123 2040.

Further advice for students can be found on the National Union of Students (NUS) website:

http://www.nus.org.uk/en/campaigns/the-lock/your-home/rental-scams/

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