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How to Prevent and Report Rental Fraud in Europe

Written by Greystar
Edited by Greystar
For Residents November 22, 2023

Renting a new apartment is a time filled with excitement, anticipation, and the promise of new experiences. But the process of finding and securing a new rental may also come with its challenges and logistics.

Whether you're a seasoned renter or embarking on your very first rental adventure, it's crucial to arm yourself with knowledge and awareness to ensure you don't fall victim to fraudulent schemes. Scammers can be deceptive by posing as landlords and convincing you to make upfront payments for properties that either don't exist or have already been rented out.

We understand that rental fraud can be a concern for our residents, and unfortunately there have been instances where scammers have used the imagery and branding associated with the Greystar family of brands or our residences.

How To Protect Yourself

To help keep yourself safe from rental fraud, keep these tips in mind:

1)  Use Reputable Rental Websites: Stick to well-known and reputable rental websites and platforms where listings are often vetted more thoroughly.

2)  Inconsistent Information: Pay attention to inconsistencies in the listing. Scammers often mix up details such as the property's location, amenities or rent amount.

3)  Do Your Homework: Before committing to anything, take a moment to research online. Check review websites for any negative feedback, search the provided contact numbers and company names to ensure they are legitimate, and if possible, confirm identities. 

4)  Trust Your Instincts: If a listing seems too good to be true or contains spelling errors, exercise caution. Trust your gut and take your time to investigate further.

5)  No Upfront Payments: Never agree to pay rent in advance before signing a formal tenancy agreement. Your money should only change hands when everything is properly documented.

Keep in mind that scammers can be very skilled in making their scams seem believable. That's why it's essential to stay vigilant and do your homework when searching for a rental. If you ever have even the slightest suspicion of a rental scam, it's always a good idea to trust your instincts and choose to explore other options in your search – your peace of mind is worth it!

To learn more about avoiding rental fraud, we recommend reading our post around How to Avoid Rental Scams

How To Report It

If you're concerned that you may have been a victim of rental fraud, please follow the guidance outlined below, organised by European country:

•  United Kingdom

If you believe you've been a victim of fraud in the UK, please reach out to your local police to report the incident, as well as contacting Action Fraud, which serves as the UK's central reporting hub for fraud and cybercrime cases.

Additionally, you may want to get in touch with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). They work closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and share the information from reports with a network of trusted industry partners, including major social media platforms and ad networks operating in the UK. This collaboration helps remove scam ads and prevents similar ones from reappearing, contributing to a safer online environment – your efforts can make a positive difference!


•  The Republic of Ireland

If you suspect you've fallen victim to rental fraud in The Republic of Ireland, there are effective steps that you can take. Begin by reporting such incidents to your local Garda Síochána station (Irish police).

For more complex cases or those requiring specialised attention, you can reach out to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB). They focus on investigating the more serious and intricate cases of economic crime. If your case falls into this category, it will be handled by their experienced team.

Additionally, it's crucial to act quickly if you believe your bank account has been compromised. Report this immediately to your bank or financial institution to minimise potential financial loss. Similarly, if your social media account or any other form of communication has been hacked, reach out to the relevant company. Doing so will help preserve any essential evidence and prevent further harm. 


•  Austria

If you've already sent money to a scammer in Austria, don't worry – there’s help available. Please reach out to either your nearby Austrian Public Prosecutor's Office (Staatsanwaltschaft) or the Department of Criminal Investigation (Kriminalpolizei) to report the incident. Additionally, you can get in touch with the Cybercrime Unit of the Austrian Public Prosecutor's Office via email at

For those who have fallen victim to online fraud, you have the option to contact the Cybercrime Unit of the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) – here are the details you'll need:

Meldestelle Against Cyber Crime
Josef Holaubek Place 1,
A-1090 Vienna


Remember, you're not alone in this, and these authorities are here to assist you.


•  Spain

If you suspect you've fallen victim to rental fraud in Spain, it's important to take action. We recommend reaching out to the local authorities who can assist you:

-  Your local police department
-  The National Police
-  The Guardia Civil

Additionally, you might consider filing a complaint with the Public Prosecutor's Office or the court in your area of residence – your proactive approach can make a difference in addressing the situation.


•  France

If you come across fake adverts in France, please don't hesitate to report it to the Competition and Fraud Control Department (Direction De La Concurrence Et De La Répression Des Fraudes or DGCCRF). You can easily do this by visiting or by making a toll-free call to 0809 540 550.

For international online scams, your reports can make a significant impact. Consider reporting them to, part of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which unites over 65 consumer protection agencies worldwide.

If you encounter a fake rental listing, we suggest filing a criminal complaint or reporting it to the police. There's a dedicated online platform established by the Ministry of Interior called THESEE (The Harmonized Processing of Investigations and Reports Platform for E-scams) to assist with this process.

Your involvement in reporting these issues helps protect not only yourself but also others in the community from falling victim to scams.

•  Germany

If you believe you've been a victim of rental fraud in Germany, you have the option to report such incidents either at any local police station or at the nearby public prosecutor's offices. Many public prosecutor's offices even have specialised departments that handle white-collar offenses. If you find your situation requires specialised attention, you can approach these departments directly.

In cases where you choose to file a complaint through a lawyer, they can guide you through the process and ensure that your concerns are addressed effectively. It's all about making the reporting process as accessible and accommodating as possible to protect your interests.


•  The Netherlands

If you’re concerned about having been scammed in The Netherlands, we recommend reporting it to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (Autoriteit Consument & Markt or ACM), which actively encourages reporting fake advertisements.

Additionally, we also recommend visiting Netherlands Union of Tenants, which offers guidance on how to prevent falling victim to scams and valuable tips for identifying fake advertisements related to rental housing. Your safety and wellbeing are our top priorities!

Informed, Hassle-Free Renting

Remember that knowledge is your best defence against these unfortunate schemes – by staying informed, trusting your instincts, and taking the necessary precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of rental fraud.

Don't let the fear of scams deter you from finding your dream home, but instead, let it inspire you to be a savvy and informed renter. If you ever encounter suspicious activity or have questions about a potential rental, don't hesitate to reach out to the appropriate authorities or seek guidance from reputable rental agencies.

Your security and peace of mind are of upmost importance, and we wish you the very best in finding a safe and secure place to call home with Greystar. Here's to a positive and hassle-free renting experience!

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