In a particularly malicious scam, con artists have created fake websites that prey on those looking for affordable housing (sometimes called "Section 8"). The sites appear to offer a way to sign up for a voucher wait list, but they really collect fees and personal information from victims.
How the Scam Works:
You are looking for affordable housing and search online for the housing choice voucher waiting list. You click one of the top search results, and it takes you to a website. The site looks real and even has an Equal Housing Opportunity logo.
You start to sign up for the wait list, but the site asks for a registration fee and personal information, such as your Social Security number. Don't enter it! The fee goes straight to scammers' bank accounts, and con artists can use your personal information to commit identity theft.
In another version of this scam, the fake websites list Section 8 properties that supposedly are available. You can rent one... if you pay the first month's rent via wire transfer or a prepaid card. The ads are fakes, and, if you pay, you just lost your money.
Tips to Avoid an Affordable Housing Scam:
NOTE: Although this scam focuses on affordable housing in the U.S., residents of Canada and other countries should be on the lookout for similar scams that take advantage of people looking for help through government housing programs.
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