Direct Wonen is a quick and simple way to arrange your housing by contacting multiple landlords, brokers, management companies and roommates. Most of these landlords have good intentions, are legitimate and reliable. Unfortunately, there is a small group that want to take advantage of the trust people have in Direct Wonen. This group consist of people that we call scammers. In this article, we wish to inform you in what scammers are, how you can recognize them, what you should do if you encounter them and what Direct Wonen does to stop them.
How do I recognize a scammer?
Scammers are people that try abuse a persons good intentions and scam you to steal your money and personal information. It is a form of online fraud where scammers try to fool you to transfer money to them. Generally, a scammer offers a room, studio or appartement on a great location for an even greater price. You can recognize a scammer by minding these points:
It almost always concerns a person in a foreign country
A scammer will ask you to pay a deposit on the property (perhaps even some months advanced rent), even before you have viewed the house.
A scammer will ask you to transfer money via semi-anonymous services like Western Union, MoneyGram or fake Airbnb links. They do this because money transfers are not always traceable via these services
A scammer will ask you to continue your communication via a different platform than Direct Wonen, for example e-mail or Skype
A scammer will not answer your question clearly or will ignore them
A scammer is not fluent in Dutch or prefers English. Either way, the message of the scammer will resemble a text that was translated online (Google Translate)
What can I do against scammers?
Sometimes, honest landlords can ask for a deposit or would like to communicate via phone or e-mail as well. Thus, it is important to remember that it usually involves a combination of the points mentioned above. However, if you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a landlord on Direct Wonen, feel free to contact us. It is always better to be cautious than be sorry in this case. Please always keep the following tips in mind if you search on Direct Wonen:
Always use common sense: if something seems to good to be true, it most likely is the case
If a landlord is located abroad or asks you to transfer money via Westen Union, Aribnb or Moneygram, notify us directly.
Never give anyone an advanced copy of you ID or passport – some might abuse this as well.
Remember to always create and sign a rental agreement before you pay
Do you have doubts? Always report the potential scammer to us!
When you run into something suspicious on our website please report it trough the report buttons on the website. You can report a scammer at the user page, the advertisement page or the conversation page. Each and every notification of abuse that comes in on Direct Wonen is registered and checked with caution. This way Direct Wonen can see how many notifications have been made and what the reason is. If there is indeed abuse, Direct Wonen will take the right action. Based on the situation, the landlord will either be warned or removed and blocked from the website.
What does Direct Wonen do to prevent scammers?
To prevent scammers to become active on our platform, Direct Wonen screens every new profile, new room advert and any adjustment on both constantly. There is a special team that reviews all changes on our website and blocks scammers before the content is online. This way a lot of scammers never see the light of day on Direct Wonen. Furthermore, we block IP addresses in some regions, as there are some regions where scammers are really active. Unfortunately, some scammer still pass these strict attempts to block them, usually after several tries. Each abuse report is registered and checked by Direct Wonen. We can also see if already more reports of the same abuse have been made and what kind of action has been taken. When the report is about a scammer and the user turns out to be a scammer, we always change the name of the user to ‘blocked user’. This way, people are alerted that the user is not reliable and cannot be trusted.
I have been scammed! What can I do now?
Have you been scammed? Then go to the police as soon as possible and press charges. Unfortunately, in this case, we can’t do anything for you. However, we will help the police in whatever way we can. You can always send the accusation to us, to keep us informed.
You can always check our support page for more tips agains scammers. Here, you can also see through which platforms you can reach us.