It is a period of intense turnover for students and their donors. And unfortunately, it is prone to scams. The PAP.fr platform, which processes on average between 800 and a thousand new rental ads per day during the summer, warns of their upsurge. In this season, the platform checks between 200 to 300 rental proposals daily. Its teams of “experienced” auditors more specifically target offers from donors who are new to the platform, using various human and digital processes. “Our goal is to prevent false ads from appearing on our site,” explains Laetitia Caron, Managing Director of PAP. “However, there is an increase in scams, which can potentially end up on other platforms,” she reports.
PAP returns are worrying. On average, between 40 and 50 daily rental proposals are retoked after verification of photos, title deeds or even the identity of “landlords”. That is to say about 20% of the advertisements sifted through, which are most often written by charlatans. This figure has doubled compared to previous years: in “normal” times, only around 20 bids are rejected, PAP reports. “Yes, and even if the phenomenon is not new, we are seeing more scams this year,” insists Laetitia Caron, the managing director of PAP. And the platform to prevent: students are particularly risky targets.
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At the end of summer, in fact, students are hyperactive. They represent 39% of rental searches, against only 30% in June or 18% in May. “Between the stress of the start of the school year, the tensions over apartments in big cities, the despair of finding accommodation urgently and sometimes the ignorance of rental rules, all the ingredients are there for tenants to rush to false bargains ”, Argues Laetitia Caron. “The crooks take advantage of periods when demand from tenants is strong to play on the fear of missing a home,” decrypts the general manager of PAP.
Among the ads rejected by PAP, two main families of scams emerge. The first is very classic. It consists of asking the future tenant for money to “reserve” a place, while waiting to move in. However, Laetitia Caron is categorical: there is no legal reason to pay money to a lessor before signing the lease! “The first month’s rent, like the security deposit, is not paid until the contract is signed,” repeats the representative of PAP. If your landlord demands otherwise, refuse. And if he asks for a payment of money to “reserve the accommodation” before you have even visited him, or signed the lease … run away from his announcement! The con artist here is probably trying to play on your fear of missing out on a “good deal” to trick you.
The second scam frequently identified by PAP is more devious. In this case, the false lessor does not require a transfer. However, he will ask for various documents before signing the lease: identity document, RIB, pay slip, etc. Using the documents provided, he will then attempt to set up a false consumer credit report on your behalf. Unpleasant surprise! Here again, a simple parry exists to avoid falling into the trap. “If you are asked to send a file or money in advance of a visit, go your way,” advises Laetitia Caron. Also beware of advertisements with photos, rents or descriptions that are too tempting. “If the quality / rent ratio of the property is too attractive, this can be a red flag,” concludes Laetitia Caron.
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