Derbyshire police are urging students to take extra steps to protect themselves from rental fraudsters.
Rental fraud takes place when victims are tricked into paying an upfront fee for a property that does not exist or which has been rented to multiple tenants at the same time.
As part of the Stamp out Fraud in Derbyshire initiative, officers are issuing advice to help protect students from falling victim to possible rental scams as they prepare for university life.
Detective Constable Julie Wheeldon from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit said: “Fraudsters are opportunists and often target students looking for affordable accommodation close to university sites by offering deals which seem too good to be true.
“Just remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Take a step back from the situation, ask for advice and ensure that you do not hand over money upfront to secure a room.
“Make sure that you visit the property with the landlord before handing over any financial information and be wary of those landlords who refuse to let you visit the property.”
Other crime prevention advice includes:
Always check the legitimacy of the advert and avoid those with no telephone number, photographs or little information about the property;
Avoid adverts with
Ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement along with any safety certificates such as gas or electricity;
Always ask for ID from the landlord and check that they are a member of the National Landlords Association (NLA). You can do this by visiting www.landlords.org.uk.
For information around frauds and scams visit the dedicated Stamp out Fraud in Derbyshire webpage at www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud.
To report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the website at: www.actionfraud.police.uk.