UVM students targeted in housing scam

Sawyer Loftus, Senior Staff Writer

UVM students and the greater Burlington area have been targeted in a string of recent rental scams.

UVM Police posted an alert about the scam on their Facebook page Wednesday July 17 to UVM students and the community.

Scammers have copied real property ads and replaced contact information in attempts to receive deposits and first month’s rent, according to the post.

Only a handful of reports have been filed by UVM Police, Tim Bilodeau, deputy chief of UVM Police, said. UVM Police first became aware of the scam Wednesday, Bilodeau said.

In at least one instance a false ad was posted on Craigslist for an apartment around the Hill Section of Burlington, where Athletic Campus is located, Bilodeau said.

Although this one ad seemed to target the UVM community, everyone in market for a Burlington rental needs to be on the lookout, he said.

This scam is not unlike others that have target UVM students recently, Bilodeau said. In April UVM students were targeted by scammers using UVM Police’s phone number in attempts to get money.

“Everything is parallel to other scams as far as [the scammers] looking for a Western Union check or bank check,” Bilodeau said. “The set up was similar to other financial scams that could be from who knows where.”

UVM Police wants the community to remember that when renting in Burlington, security deposits can’t be more than one month’s rent, according to the post. Most landlords require a deposit at the time of lease signing and landlords can’t charge a fee just to apply to rent an apartment, according to the post.

If you think you may have fallen victim to one of these scams please contact your local police department, Bilodeau said.