Caution! Fraudsters use real estate scout for nasty new scams

  • Fraudsters have apparently discovered real estate scouts for themselves
  • They pretend to be offering a cheap and chic apartment that is still available
  • And then comes this lousy trick

Eat. Imagine that you are looking for an apartment on Immobilienscout and stumble upon an unbelievable offer.

Dream apartment in a dream location. Furnished with a fat LCD TV, dishwasher and all sorts of other amenities. And hey, it’s still available!

Are you already suspicious? No? Then read on.

The price is just amazing. 100 euros cheaper than all other apartments in this location (which don’t even have a fitted kitchen).

After you’ve written to the owner to arrange a viewing, he’ll write back in bumpy German or English and say that you sound really nice.

And that he works permanently abroad, or is unfortunately ill and therefore “unfortunately, unfortunately” cannot come to see it in person.

But he still really wants to give you the apartment. Incidentally, if you don’t want the high-quality furniture, you are welcome to move it into the spacious basement, he says. “AirBNB agency” took over the management of this dream apartment for him, he says.

Receipt of money for him, no keys for you.

The further procedure is then simple. The owner just wants you to transfer two net rents and the rent for the first month in advance. For an average apartment, this can be between 800 and 1500 euros.

After receiving the money, they would supposedly send you the keys and then you could visit the apartment for two days. If you should decide against the property, you would of course get the money back, says the “owner”. So much for the theory.

Say goodbye to the coal

In reality, someone (presumably abroad) gets the money into their account and withdraws it immediately so that it cannot be returned. Adios, coal. Goodbye forever.

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This is how you protect yourself

At Immobilienscout we already know this trick. Eva-Marie Roseler, employee of the company, says: If a payment is requested in advance of the viewing (regardless of the way), “this is a clear indicator of a dubious offer.”

Is the price right? Do the pictures match the object?

In addition, one should be skeptical if a property is offered at a very low price. You can check the price and location at Immobilienscout using the “price and location information” in the synopsis. In addition, one should be skeptical if the photos do not match the description of the property.

Roseler says that cases of this so-called “prepayment fraud” occur above all in large cities, because there the pressure on the housing market is great. Many people are interested in the same apartment, so a fraudster will reach many potential victims.

The images used are presumably stolen from real objects and then used for fraud. This can also happen with the names of providers.

Information about fraud at

If Immobilienscout detects fraudulent advertisements, they are first deactivated and the searcher receives a message with a reference to the attempted fraud.

Criminals have apparently discovered the real estate market on the Internet for themselves. Because there are already a number of scams that you should find out about at if you notice something suspicious.

By the way, Immobilienscout does not work with Airbnb. But with the police and public prosecutor’s office. In cases of fraud, the company sometimes files criminal charges against unknown persons. According to the company, perpetrators have not yet been identified. One more reason to keep an absolutely open eye.