Staying Safe Online
What are Scams?
Online accommodation scams are attempts to trick people into sending money for accommodation. They are easy to avoid if you know what to look out for. A good rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
This page covers the systems we have in place to prevent scams, and how you can protect yourself from scams.
There are two main types of scam:
This is a scam for advertisers to watch out for. In this scam, a fake "student" tells an advertiser that they or a parent have transferred money as an advance payment for accommodation, and ask the provider to refund the difference. The "student" then cancels the initial transfer and keeps the "refund."
This is one for students to watch out for. It is less common, but still good to know about. In this scam, the advertiser requests advance payment to secure accommodation which later turns out to be fake.
How We Work to Prevent Scams
All students and accommodation providers in our system need to pass through a manual verification process to have access to our system.
Current students must have a Griffith email address. Future students are checked out and only have 3 months access before their account expires. Each listing added by an advertiser is checked by administrators before it becomes visible to students. We prevent most scams this way, but it's not a perfect system and there are some that slip through the cracks.
Whenever we detect scams, we will block the offender so that they can no longer access the website.
Our messaging system allows users to easily report possible scams. We will investigate these reports and block offenders.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from scams is to be aware that they happen, and how they work. If you've read this far you are well on your way to avoiding scams. Here are some things you can do
Be careful about paying money for accommodation you, or someone you know and trust, have not inspected. If you are overseas and want to secure accommodation before you arrive, we recommend looking for commercial listings (with the light blue house icon).
Generous offers of payment from overseas should set off alarm bells about a possible scam. It doesn't always indicate a scam as many of our international students will try to secure accommodation from overseas, but you should be careful and seek further evidence from the student that they are sincere. Be extremely careful before offering refunds, especially to overseas bank accounts.
Please beware that there have been a number of unauthorised emails requesting money from our private listings.
We have been able to track the email address and have now blocked their access to the site. Unfortunately the person responsible for the emails may have already had access to your email details prior to our blocking them from the StudyStays database.
The scammer in question is requesting accommodation and has been sending fraudulent cheques to providers to bank on their behalf asking for a sum of money to be deposited into their account. Please be aware of the risks involved when accepting money from overseas or potential tenants. Additional information can be found at scamwatch.gov.au.