BOSTON (CBS) — Will Dowsett thought he’d found the perfect sublet on Craigslist. Instead, he finds himself couch surfing to start the school year.
The Boston University senior was searching from his family’s home in Wisconsin. He contacted the person who posted the ad and they talked over the phone and email. Dowsett wired $4200 for the first and last month’s rent and security deposit.
He drove his car to the Beacon Street address, arriving on August 20th and tried to contact the landlord.
“I emailed him, email wasn’t working. He wasn’t answering his phone and I kind of put the pieces together at that point that it was too good to be true,” he said.
With college students arriving back in the Boston area en masse, the scams are multiplying. Cambridge Police say they had 10 reports of similar rental scams this summer.
In Boston, the city Inspectional Services Department tracks rental scams. They advise students never to wire money.
Will says college students are easy targets. He couldn’t travel to see the apartment so he felt like he didn’t have other options.
In fact, the pictures Will saw are still being used on other phony Craigslist listings.
He filed a report with Boston Police but says he has little hope of getting his money back or the scammer being caught.
He’s more concerned now with finding a new place to live when school starts.