As an international student moving overseas for studies, there are a lot of challenges to deal with. From following complex visa norms and admission processes to clearing entrance exams and choosing the right university and programme, these details may overwhelm you. But expect bigger challenges after landing in the country because you may find yourself facing a housing scam.

Surprisingly, student rental scams are more common than you imagine. In fact, they are rampant as most students rent through an online rental process. International students relocating to big cities such as New York, London, and Melbourne are more susceptible to scams because of the high demand and rental rates.

Unscrupulous scammers also target young students because they are easy to con. They hardly know anything about the local rules, making them easy prey.

Awareness is the key to staying safe from a housing scam as it enables you to see the red flags when someone tries to rent you a fake apartment or room. It is even more crucial to report scams to the police or authorities, but most students fail to do it.


There are different types of rental scams you may come across as an international student. Here are the ones you should be aware of:

Clickbait Advertisement

A clickbait advertisement involves a scammer contacting students about accommodations that do not even exist. They try to entice the victims with false promises about rental discounts and easy payments.

Hijacked Advertisement

In a hijacked advertisement, a scammer copies a legit advertisement and changes details like the location and price of the property. They contact the victim and offer a rental in this fake accommodation.


With self-promotion, advertisers promote themselves as owners looking for student tenants. Likewise, they may show that they are students trying to connect other students with their landlords. Either way, the landlord does not exist.

Besides online ads, social media groups on platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp offer opportunities to scammers looking to lure gullible international students.


Awareness and vigilance are game-changers when it comes to staying safe from rental scams as an international student. But even the smartest ones can get conned by the tactics of seasoned scammers. Here are a few tried and tested strategies to stay a step ahead of unscrupulous people in the housing game.

  • Never pay in advance before seeing the property in person. You can consider sending a local friend to check the place if booking before landing at your destination.
  • Validate the landlord, agent, or contact person by digging deep into their profile, connections, and recommendations.
  • Contact seniors or alumni to seek reviews and recommendations about accommodations in the area. You can use LinkedIn to build a strong network.
  • Avoid people asking to pay crypto because they are likely a surefire scam. Also, steer clear of renting directly from landlords and use a reliable online platform where they are registered.
  • Trust your gut and use common sense before falling for a deal that looks too good to be true.

Staying safe from a rental scam isn’t easy for international students landing in a new country and struggling to start from scratch. But vigilance, common sense, and good research can save you from falling for a con. Following these tips can keep you ahead of scammers, no matter how smart they are.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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