Savvy Traveler’s guide to House Hunting:
12 Warning Signals of a Scam 

For the dedicated and adventurous souls that make up the community of travelers – nurses and allied healthcare professionals embarking on new assignments comes with the territory. The excitement of a fresh environment, diverse experiences, and the chance to make a difference is what in large part drives travelers. However, amidst the anticipation, there lurks a cautionary tale—a reminder that vigilance is essential in safeguarding against housing scams. The ever-evolving landscape of the travel nursing profession is both a boon and a challenge and understanding the red flags of housing scams is paramount to ensure that each journey remains a secure and enriching one. Our dirty dozen warning signs that we recommend travel nurses should watch out for regarding housing scams:

  • Unbelievably Low Costs: Be cautious of housing listings that offer excessively low prices for the area. If a deal seems too good to be true, it should raise a red flag.
  • Urgent Payment Requests: Scammers may pressure you to make immediate payments or deposits to secure housing. Legitimate options typically have more secure and standard payment procedures.
  • Refusal for Virtual Tours: If the landlord or agent is unwilling to provide a virtual tour or allow a video walkthrough, it could be a sign of a scam. Authentic listings usually offer ways to view the property remotely.
  • Unprofessional Listings: Be wary of property ads with numerous grammatical errors, unusual capitalization, or poorly composed descriptions. Legitimate listings typically maintain a professional appearance.
  • Wiring Money Requests: If the alleged landlord insists on wiring money or asks for personal financial information early on, it’s a significant red flag. Scammers often seek to obtain money quickly using such tactics.
  • High-Pressure Tactics: Scammers may use high-pressure tactics, creating a sense of urgency to make decisions quickly. Legitimate housing providers give you time to make informed choices.
  • Dramatic Stories: Be cautious of landlords who share dramatic stories to evoke sympathy or urgency, pressuring you to make rapid decisions without due diligence.
  • Lack of Background Checks: Reputable housing options often conduct background checks on property owners to ensure legitimacy. If there’s no mention of background checks, it could be a cause for concern.
  • Communication via Non-Standard Apps: If the landlord insists on communicating only through messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram, it’s worth investigating further, as this can be a sign of suspicious activity.
  • Unresponsive or Evasive Behavior: If the landlord or agent avoids answering your questions directly, becomes defensive, or doesn’t provide sufficient information, it might indicate a scam.
  • No Official Lease Agreement: A lack of a proper lease agreement or reluctance to provide one can be an indication of illegitimacy. Legitimate housing options will offer formal agreements outlining terms and conditions.
  • Lack of References or Reviews: Scammers often lack genuine references or online reviews for their properties. Look for legitimate listings that have verifiable reviews from other tenants.