How to protect yourself from scammers

Flatmates.com.au have a sophisticated and constant moderation system that ensures the listings on our site are genuine and safe. We confidently remove over 95% of suspicious listings before they go live. Occasionally though, some will get through. Normally these are picked up by our moderation team or by members of our community who report the listing to us.

While we will do our best to remove scammers, it is important you can spot a scam and protect yourself.

How do I protect myself from scammers?

  • Always make contact through the website Scammers will always try and get you to immediately converse with them via email off the website so we are unable to track their activity. Contacting members through the website ensures that we can warn about anyone you are talking to should we find anything suspicious about their listing.

  • Never pay any money before viewing Most scammers are advertising a property that doesn’t exist. Very rarely will a scammer offer you a property viewing or a meeting with them. Most listings made by a scammer will be a one bedroom or studio property, as in these cases no roommates will be available to show you the property. They will request upfront payment and promise to courier you the keys. Never transfer money to someone you have never met for a property you have never seen.

Tip
If you’re overseas, Skype is the best way to view a property and meet potential flatmates. Scammers will, in most cases, never offer or accept a Skype call.

How to spot a scammer


  1. If its too good to be true then it probably is Scammers will entice you with a deal that will be too good to be true. A fully furnished, studio or one bed in Sydney or Melbourne for $200-300 a week is a common example. If you think the deal is too good to be true, it most likely is.

  2. Strange stories and excuses Often a scammer will come up with an elaborate story as to why they are unable to meet you, their apartment is so cheap or why they are in a hurry to rent it out. The story may involve them being overseas, a sick relative or an urgent job transfer. They may even say you’re helping them out by looking after their property for them.

  3. Transfer your money safely Scammers will be after your money and will mostly request it to be sent via WESTERN UNION or transfer to a foreign bank account. They will be very persistent to seal the deal and will pressure you to transfer the money quickly, so you don’t miss out. Do not fall for this trick. Pay your deposit or bond in cash and in person or by transfer to an Australian bank account. Always get a receipt for any money transferred or handed over.

  4. Collection of keys A scammer will often offer you the opportunity to collect the keys from an Airport or have them DHL or couriered to you. A genuine person will meet you or at least a friend or agent.

  5. If in doubt report it If you have doubts about a member or listing you can report it to us and our team will review the situation. The majority of the time we are able to quickly identify and block people that are suspicious, ensuring our community remain safe.

It is important to remember that the vast majority of our users are genuine and honest people. If in doubt follow our steps above, exercise a bit of caution and always let us know if you’re unsure.