In all honesty, out of approximately 40 stories I have heard from people finding housing on Facebook, around 30 were scams either immediately or at some point while they were living there. Understandably so! International students find out whether a university accepted them or not mid-to-late July. Usually, they have to be in Denmark by late August, which leaves them with only a month to find accommodation. And to make things even better, they are “competing” against Danish students who have a clear language advantage.
This is a perfect setup for all scammers on Facebook. The students are desperate to find a place to stay, so they are writing to any and all posts advertising accommodation. And because they do not know anything about the housing system, they overlook some clear red flags that they are going to get scammed. There are so many of them that we would have to write a whole book about it, so here are some most frequent ones:
1. A few or fake property pictures
There are two ways scammers try to get you through photos. First, they only post pictures of the building from the outside. Second, they post a lot of really nice pictures, but when you Google the address, it shows a completely different-looking neighborhood.
2. Asking for a deposit before viewing the apartment
Some scammers will ask for a deposit (or some kind of payment) before they even let you see the apartment. DO NOT fall for that! They are required by law to show you the apartment before you pay for anything.
3. Asking for a very low deposit or rent
Be aware and pay attention to the connection between your neighbourhood and the required rent – the closer you live to the city center, the more expensive it’s going to get. Plus, it’s Denmark, so everything is going to be more expensive. However, this is where a lot of international students get scammed.
4. Requiring payment through services where tracing the transaction is not possible
Maybe the apartment will be super nice, the rent will be reasonable and acceptable, and then they ask you to give them money in cash or through services like Western Union. Immediately stop any contact with them and report them – this payment is irreversible and untraceable.
5. Not accepting online video meetings
When searching for housing in Denmark, international students are often doing it from outside of Denmark. Therefore, a totally obvious solution to making sure what your apartment looks like and that your landlord is a real person is to schedule a video call. A lot of landlords are totally open to this and will gladly help out in any way they can. Those that are reluctant to do it, or simply stop responding after you ask them to have a meeting, are 99% scammers.
With so many international people wanting to move to Denmark, there are more and more scammers to beware of. However, in order to not fall for them the moral of the story is always the same: if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true!
This brings us to the end of our series about accommodation for internationals in Denmark. We really hope, these last few articles have been insightful and peaked at least a bit of interest in you in trying to create a safe housing market.