Cambridge apartments rentals, Newbury street apartments Boston
Home Avoiding Scams

There are many good-hearted people in society who are caring and law-abiding citizens. Unfortunately, there are others out there who are looking for someone unsuspecting to take advantage of.   In order that this does not happen to you, please take a few minutes to review some of the most common internet scams pertaining to real estate rentals.

    Most scams involve one or more of the following:
  • inquiry from someone far away, often in another state or country
  • Wiring money via Western Union or Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
  • inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction
    Avoid these scams by following these common guidelines when using BigCityApartments:
  • Deal locally with people you can meet in person. If you follow this rule you will avoid the majority of scam attempts.
  • DO NOT wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram or any other wire service. Anyone who asks you to do so is a potential scam artist.
  • Fraudulent cashiers checks and money orders are common. Banks will cash them and then hold you liable when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • BIGCITYAPARTMENTS is NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification".
  • Never give out financial information (bank account number, social security number, PayPal/eBay info, etc.)

    Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?
  • FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
  • FTC online complaint form (
  • Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center (
  • Non-emergency number for your local police department.

If you suspect that a property listing or a potential renter using may be part of a scam, please email the details to "". Be sure to include the URL (or listing ID number) in your message.

To find out more about Internet Fraud we recommend visiting the Federal Trade Commission website

Below is a specific scam scenario and real email used by a scam artist:
Scenario: Distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check. You receive an email (example below) offering to lease your real estate rental sight unseen. A cashier's check is offered as a deposit for your rental, or for just about anything else of value. The value of cashier's check often far exceeds your rental. The scam artist offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service. Banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases. This type of scam often involves a 3rd party, like a shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc.

sample email:
Hello ,
I was there yesterday and my day was fully tied up, I accepted a position there in Northborough and I am sure the Apartments are up to par. I understand you are a third party but if you can have one of the agents fax or e-mail me an applicaton for the studio or a one bed room close to the Northborough area I would gladly fill it out have it notary signed and fax it back as well as send the original by postal service along with a deposit in order to atleast get things started. I will be able to get back out there in the next two weeks to pay the diffirence as well as sign any and all documents needed. if you can work with me on this it would be great as I need to be relocated by January 14, 2008. .....Thank's