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If I'm in one location, and I want to rent a place in another country/city for a few months, but I have to get the apartment remotely, and I do not have the ability to actually visit the place before time.

  • How do I make sure I'm not getting scammed when finding a good deal online?

  • What steps can I take to ensure the rental is legitimate?

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    I wouldn't really consider this to be a travel question, as it would also apply to anyone relocating for work or school who must secure lodging sight unseen. – choster Nov 25 '15 at 5:29
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    @choster - in that situation, I'd adivse staying in some kind of temporary accomodation (hotel, holiday rental) while viewing places. – CMaster Nov 25 '15 at 10:36
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not a travel question. It's too late to migrate it though. – Calchas Apr 25 '17 at 16:03
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Requests for deposits by untraceable means (Western Union, Moneygram, cash) are guaranteed to be fake. Some scammers are lazy enough that Googling the landlord's name (i.e., alias) will bring up complaints.

  • Guaranteed to be fake? I am sure WU would disagree with you there. – user13044 Nov 25 '15 at 14:53
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    I repeat, sending money to someone you don't already know by WU is guaranteed to be fake. No real apartment owner would make such a request. I might add, I suspect WU knows full well what a percentage of their business is fraudulent, and since (unlike credit cards) there is little to no recourse against them, why would they particularly care? Here's what Craigslist has to say: Avoid scams, deal locally! DO NOT wire funds (e.g. Western Union), or buy/rent sight unseen. – Andrew Lazarus Nov 25 '15 at 19:11
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    Thanks for the tip! And surprisingly, I haven't thought about Googling the landlord's name, turns out its very effective. – Mirodinho Nov 28 '15 at 2:48
  • Just this week, an apartment very near my office is being advertised on Craigslist for about 1/4 the going rate. Of course, I will be asked to send some money. I don't know whether to play along--the initial reply is in good but not native English, what a surprise. – Andrew Lazarus Oct 19 '16 at 19:55
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Locate an ex-pat forum in the country / destination in question, then ask them for feedback on the place you have in mind.

Look up apartment licensing in the destination, then if required look to see if the place is registered.

Check bigger travel forums like TripAdvisor as long term stays are often discussed.

One other thing to keep in mind, especially in developing or third world countries, apartments are rented to the first person who shows up with cash, so an online "reservation" may not be 100% certain.

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