The Housing Scam

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In the world of travel nursing there are many variables that go into the making of a successful assignment. Some obvious matters of great import involve the facility—how staffers embrace travelers, the level of teamwork employed, the organizational structure of the unit/floor, to name a few. There are many questions to be answered outside of the facility that play a major role in the overall travel experience, as well. What does this particular spot on the map offer in the way of new life experiences, bucket list activities, and even cozy hominess? From rustic town to environmental paradise to bustling metropolis, there are new adventures waiting in every port, and traveling nurses boldly enter these realms with great faith that their assignment will be a fusion of personal and professional fulfillment.

A big contributor to the overall travel experience is often the housing situation. Most travelers these days opt for the tax free housing allowance rather than company provided housing. That makes absolute sense! It’s your money! Who better than you to determine the accommodations your money is spent to provide? There are great deals out there for the search savvy traveler, but there are also predatory scum that seek to scam you out of your money. It’s a sad reality. Some people just suck…the money right out of your pocket.

With this in mind, here are a few flags to be on the alert for in your housing search. Be mindful of these and you will very likely escape the scammer!

1)      Never wire money. If that’s a requirement, it’s probably a scam.

2)      Beware of high deposits, first and last month up front, etc. That’s too much for a short term rental and is certainly worth questioning. Could be a scam.

3)      Engage with the owner. Get a name. Demand a phone conversation. Don’t depend solely on email. If the owner/landlord won’t provide a phone number, don’t trust it. Scammer alert!

4)      You can google the owner/landlord’s name and email address and see if any warnings pop up. Do this! This could save you from the scam!

5)      Never give out financial information. Don’t give your banking numbers or your social security number. An owner/landlord will often allow proof/terms of your contract to insure your ability to pay.

6)      If you are in the area, the owner/landlord must be able to show the property. If not, keep looking.

7)      Is this deal too good to be true? Super cheap for the area? Is this landlord pushy and over-anxious? These should all raise your scam antennae.

8)      If the owner doesn’t provide an actual address, there is most likely a problem. You need the physical address of the unit before you send any form of payment. Once you have it, google that address. Is it actually a rentable living space? Do pictures match what that google search and owner is telling you?

9)      Speaking of pictures, there should always be pictures of the unit/property. But don’t put too much stock in pictures unless all your research checks out!

With Halloween quickly approaching, there will be plenty of haunts, hijinks and hooligans out there to give you a scare. But don’t be spooked by rental scams! Listen to your instincts and use your common sense. Keep the above guidelines in mind, and the predatory methods of these money sucking scum will be easy to spot—as recognizable as the unbalanced, creepy gait of the flesh eating zombies you’re bound to encounter next week!

Here’s to your Halloween being full of frightfully fun delights!

Christy Hill - Senior Healthcare Recruiter