Scammers target college students looking for apartment subleasers
Iesha Marshall was the victim of an online scammer who tried subleasing her room with intentions to hack her bank account
Ellis Forest is the president of The USC Real Estate Law Society and he recommends taking payments for rent in cash, not a check.
By: Lauren Hoar
Iesha Marshall is going home for the summer and, like many college students, she is looking for someone to take over paying rent for her apartment at The Woodlands of Columbia in Columbia. Marshall thought she finally found a subleaser for her room but she quickly learned that the person on the other side of the computer had different intentions.
The woman made some comments in her emailsthat caused Iesha to be skeptical of the deal they were about to make.
"Then she asks me about payment and I'm like why do you need a payment from me... she asks for my full name, full address, phone number and email address. I don't give that information out, online, unless I really know you," Marshall said.
Immediately, Iesha says she contacted her apartment complex about the potential subleaser. Their response was that it was a scammer and many of their residents looking for subleasers have been targeted by this same person.
The president of the Real Estate Law Society at USC, Ellis Forest, says ways to avoid this problem is to meet with whoever wants to sublease your room in person and, if possible, bring a friend with you for safety reasons.
Forest says taking payments in cash and not a check can also help avoid people trying to hack your bank account.
"It could be a fake check and they could be scamming you for that money in return," said Forest.
Fortunately, Iesha did not give her information away and the scammer was unable to hack her account.
If you are looking for a subleaser, Iesha says posting to social media, on websites like Craigslist, and fliers across campus have helped her in her search. But, she says to be aware of these potential scammers that are really trying to get access to your bank account.