The OIA recently received a report from an international student who responded to an ad on UChicago Marketplace for a short-term apartment lease and learned that it was a scam. Remember to always exercise caution, even if the posting to which your are responding is from Marketplace.uchicago.edu. Remember that postings made there are not vetted by the University, and on occasion someone may use Marketplace in inappropriate ways.
After the student responded to the ad, he asked about the possibility of visiting the apartment before signing the contract. The poster responded and said, "It is unfortunate that I will not be doing a showing until everything has been solidified and concluded due to past experience taking tenants round the apartment. And also I have to commute from Champaign to do that. I require the security deposit and 1 month rent payment upfront to secure the apartment but before that, I will need some information from you to draft a contract which you will print and bring along with you on your move in date."
Upon receiving the above message, the student took it upon himself to go to the building and contact management there, where he learned that the ad to which he responded was a scam.
If you are approached in this or a similar manner, it is very important to understand that this is an attempt to defraud you. To report the incident, you should contact the local police department, UChicago Marketplace, and the OIA. You can do so by either contacting your regular adviser in our office, or by calling/e-mailing OIA’s front office (773.702.7752; firstname.lastname@example.org) asking to be connected with Tamara Felden, OIA's Director.