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CONSUMER ALERT: Students urged to avoid roommate, rental, and moving scams as back-to-college arrives

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  • Staff Report 

As students prepare to head to campuses across New York, the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection has issued a consumer alert offering essential tips to avoid falling victim to roommate, rental, and moving scams. These types of fraud occur when scammers deceive individuals into paying for homes that are not available or use deceptive practices during moving services.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

In a statement, Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez expressed concern for students starting the new school year, saying, “To help students start the new academic year safely, these scam prevention and safety tips will equip students with the information they need to spot a potential scam so they can focus more on their studies.” He emphasized the importance of students learning to balance independence and responsibilities, particularly when living away from home for the first time, and how this can make them vulnerable to scams.

To help students avoid rental scams, the Division provided a detailed list of precautions, including verifying rental listings, confirming the identity of real estate professionals, inspecting premises before completing any paperwork, being wary of untraceable payment methods, insisting on written agreements, protecting personal information, and not succumbing to high-pressure sales tactics. The alert also included a link to additional resources for identifying and avoiding rental scams.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The alert also outlined strategies to evade moving scams, such as avoiding bait and switch practices, being mindful of deceptive business tactics, reviewing all terms before loading, hiring licensed or registered movers, paying attention to hidden charges, never signing blank or incomplete documents, creating an inventory of belongings, understanding consumer rights, and attempting to resolve any disputes through the appropriate channels.

The New York Department of State encourages students and consumers to follow their social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for “Tuesday’s Tips,” a weekly segment that provides practical advice on various topics. These timely warnings and insights are part of a broader effort to educate and empower New Yorkers to make informed decisions and to protect themselves from potential fraud, particularly during transitional periods like the start of the academic year.



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