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I am trying to search for an accommodation now in Netherlands, I am still not move to Netherlands yet, I contact with someone but he asked me that if I want to complete the reservation I must send a deposit (700 EUR) to his bank account before we meet to just be sure that I will take the apartment. He sent to me copy of his passport and he told me that it should be enough that my money safe !!

I think it is a bad Idea, but:

  1. Is there an official government office I can verify that this man is the owner of this apartment?
  2. If I send money, how can I guarantee the transaction?
  3. Is the passport good enough proof of anything?
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    I would recommend to stay in a hostel or other short-term accommodation for the first month, while you search for a rental apartment. Then you can view the apartment, meet the person, and reduce the risk of being scammed. – gerrit Jul 7 '16 at 10:17
  • @gerrit, thanks for your reply but what about this case ? Do you have answers to my inquiries about passport and if there are official office I can ask for this guy? – Ahmed Ragheb Jul 7 '16 at 10:27
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    I don't think there is. I don't have a full answer, that's why I wrote a comment only. – gerrit Jul 7 '16 at 10:32
  • An alternative option to paid accommodation is to try bewelcome.org, hospitalityclub.org couchsurfing.com for the first few days of your arrival. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Jul 7 '16 at 18:58
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It's 99% certainly a scam. The exact same thing happened to me twice when I was in your position, including the passport scan. Guy said he was working in the UK and wanted to rent out his apartment, in a very good location in Amsterdam, for a low price. Don't bother verifying his passport. I'm sorry to have to break it to you; I realize you wanted the apartment, but it's just not going to happen.

If you contacted him via a rental search website, contact the administrators and say that you are worried about this case, asking them to look into his account and identity.

Still, for the 1% chance it is not a scam:

  • Ask him for photos of the apartment; compare them against Google Street View if that's available.
  • Tell him you will have someone come look at the apartment before you commit to it; if he says yes (he will refuse, I'm sure) get someone you know in NL to do you this favor.
  • Suggest a bank cheque, dated forward appropriately, instead of a direct transfer.
  • A passport proves nothing. Ask to see official proof of ownership.
  • Ask for the contact info of the current tenant. If he says it's unoccupied, be suspicious... and ask for the contact info of the last tenant.

Again, I'm sure it's a scam - these are just a bunch of things he should fail to be able to do.

  • Problem is that a €700/month flat in the Randstad will be gone in a week so there is no reason for that person to do anything either way. There are perfectly legitimate agencies demanding a money transfer before even presenting a tenant to a landlord/lady and full payment of all fees, first month rent and deposit before setting up an appointment to hand over the signed contract. So if it's a scam, s/he won't be able to provide a proof of ownership or accept a delayed payment and if it's not, s/he has no reason to bother. You really need to come to the country first/have someone local help you. – Gala Sep 2 '16 at 9:29
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    Renting through an agency is a different business. Assuming you can verify the agency is legit (which might not be trivial), you don't have to trust the landlord, since it's the agency rather than him that has your money, and they won't transfer the money before making sure that the apartment is really available. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Sep 2 '16 at 10:10
  • Yes of course but the point is that neither agencies nor landlords/ladies are under any pressure to make any effort to accommodate you like they might in other places. – Gala Sep 2 '16 at 13:16
  • @Gala ... but scammers are :-) – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Sep 2 '16 at 15:05

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