How it works:
- Situation: unfortunately, you will come across a lot of fraudulent or way overpriced rental apartment ad listings online on sites such as Craigslist and even in Facebook groups.
- Red flags: cheap prices (for fraudulent listings), copy-pasted description, dodgy sounding reviews, difference in photos and Google Street View pictures, payment off platform (bank transfer, Western Union, MoneyGram – these are irreversible), overseas owner, details not forthcoming.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Search: try to find accommodation via a trusted local or from offline ads – these are much cheaper as they cut out a lot of unnecessary commissions.
- Due diligence: search online reviews and if apartment has listings across other platforms, check if they are consistent. Grill the owner by asking specific details or made-up details to test if he can call your bluff. Test him by requesting a visit by a local friend. Check prices across a variety of listings as well as try to calculate if the average Serb can afford the price that you are quoted.
- Do not: pay in full upfront and off the platform. Instead, pay with a credit card if booking via an online platform.