roommate scams = NOPE!

Scammers, spammers, and scumbags specifically targeting roommate seekers are common.

Our actual human Scam Busters use their actual eyeballs and organic brains to review all roommate submissions.

Many get tossed in the trash.

We don't rely on our subscribers as our only reviewers, waiting to see what trash they report AFTER wading through it themselves.

We take out the trash FOR our subscribers.

We collect a lot of data, not just our actual questions, but also information from the submitter's computer and location which can only be accessed by site owners. Unlike most roommate sites, we are paying attention to this information, and actually making use of it to decide which profiles are worth accepting and which are probable scams. We have experience distinguishing real roommate seekers from the scammers and spammers - since 1998.

Meanwhile, all the screening we do against this ongoing internet roommate scourge saves you time and aggravation. It would be extremely annoying and time-wasting to have to exchange several emails with one of these scumbags before you finally realized that he/she was, in fact, a useless time-wasting scumbag.

However, it is NOT difficult to avoid becoming the FINANCIAL victim of a scam.

Is it difficult to avoid wasting your own TIME with scammers, before you're able to figure out who is who?


(If you don't use roomiematch.com)

Is it difficult to avoid losing MONEY to a scam, if you follow our roomiematch.com anti-scam guidelines?


Your own common sense coupled with our roomiematch.com anti-scam guidelines should prevent that entirely.

roomiematch.com anti-scam guidelines

We're not aware that any roommate seekers on roomiematch.com have ever fallen for any roommate scams. We work hard to keep our subscribers scam-free.

However, we're posting our roomiematch.com anti-scam guidelines as a public service.

No, nothing here is reason for widespread or undue panic, or non-specific worry. The vast majority of folks you could possibly meet from roomiematch.com are law-abiding citizens who are not out to illegally scam anyone.

This IS is a reminder that with roommate seeking and all of your other adult endeavors, you need to exercise good common sense. If your common sense is active and you follow our roomiematch.com anti-scam guidelines, you will NOT be financially victimized.

If someone you don't know sends you a check/money order/cashier's check for a large amount of money, do NOT ever assume it cleared your bank as a valid payment until after your bank assures you the deposit was good.

DO call your bank personally to make sure the scheduled amount actually cleared your account and was legitimately deposited. Money orders and cashier's checks are forms of immediate payment AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT FORGED. If you're not extremely familiar with the issuing bank, assume you don't know what one of theirs would look like, no matter how "official-looking" it may appear.

In addition, sending a relative stranger large amounts of money unnecessarily or as an unnecessary and unrequested "overpayment" is very odd behavior in and of itself. If someone seems to be doing something a reasonable person would find suspicious, don't trust them immediately and completely, especially with large amounts of your own money.

This is good advice for roommate seeking and really, pretty much anything else in life. Your own adult common sense should kick in here!

More specifically, the details of the most common roommate scam: Someone contacts you with an interest in renting your room, and would like to secure the room from afar by sending payment in advance. Then they spin a "Tall Tale" about how they need to send a check/cashier's check/money order for hundreds of dollars MORE than the required amount. The alleged "reasons" for this extremely odd behavior vary, but all are equally "fishy" and should arouse suspicion in and of themselves. After you receive the "payment," you must immediately and with great urgency and speed (meaning, before your bank would be able to completely process the "deposit" and inform you it was bogus) refund them their "balance" by getting it back to them somehow. Probably, they'd like you to mail them one of your own legitimate checks back, or send them the "balance" via wire service, etc.

The big scam turns out to be that the payment they sent is FORGED, so the money you sent back as their "balance/refunded amount" just comes out of your own pocket. And then you never see or hear from this would-be roommate ever again.

If any potential roommate says anything vaguely like the above to you, tell them you don't want ANY form of payment that's for more than the amount required for first month's rent, deposit, etc. Not a dollar more than the minimum required to secure the room. Let them know as well that if they ignore your request and send more than the amount required anyway for any reason whatsoever, you'll not be able to refund them any balance until:

1.  Your bank has assured you the payment cleared, and this applies to cashier's checks and money orders as well as personal checks

2.  They can pick up their balance in person whenever they're ready to move in with you. You'll not be refunding any "balances" long distance, only IN PERSON.

If whomever is a legitimate room seeker, they should have no problem with either, and you can tell them roomiematch.com said so.

If they do have a problem and/or continue insisting upon some ridiculous scenario along the lines of that described above, let us know about it immediately and we'll delete their profile.

We are also constantly on the lookout for this and any other suspicious behavior, but we'd appreciate your assistance as well if you notice something we somehow did not. By this we do mean someone on roomiematch.com, and we would need the email address of that subscriber and a copy of the email they sent you with the offending details.

(We don't need you to forward along the latest internet gossip about this, just specific details if you think someone in OUR database is attempting to do something illegitimate with any of our other subscribers.)

The scenario described above is the most common we've heard. However, it's certainly not the only one possible.

More generally, if anyone does any of the below while roommate seeking, that's SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR TOO:

  • unwillingness to meet with you face-to-face BEFORE any exchange of money takes place, even when you're willing to go out of your way to be available in person
  • odd-sounding stories about how they can’t give you a landline phone number local to where they say they are and/or talk to you on the phone other than on a non-local cell number
  • lack of references from anyplace you could verify as that number by looking it up in a commercial phone book or online equivalent
  • immediate willingness, residence sight unseen in person, to pay much more than the going rate for a room or willingness to charge much less than the going rate for a room for no apparent financially sound reason -- exceptions might be if they want you to provide a service in exchange for lowered rent, nannying, cleaning, etc. --but anyone looking to hire you to perform an expensive service would certainly want to meet you in person first.
  • willingness to pay multiple months in advance for a room, sight unseen in person
  • insistence that you need to send them money remotely/from afar/wire/snail mail, etc., rather than a willingness to meet with you in person and accept payment then
  • communication must remain solely via email on free email services (yahoo, hotmail, etc.) or via cellphone numbers that can’t be looked up and verified as to location. Communication in the beginning via these mechanisms is fine, but at some point BEFORE you give them any money they should be willing to provide you with a more direct and verifiable contact method. If they’re not willing to do that, you shouldn’t be willing to give them any money.
  • insistence that they must pay you more money than required upfront, and you need to “refund” some of that with your own money. Or really, any indication of any desire to pay more money than that required upfront.
  • any suggestion that you need to give them money back and/or a place to stay before their check or money order has had time to clear your bank, extra especially if they want you to do this remotely/from afar
  • anyone seeking your checking account number, credit card information, or social security number. That is NOT necessary for roommate seekers.
  • anyone who seems to think your roommate transaction necessarily needs to involve the use of wire services to send money, or anything involving escrow. Wire services are a good way to send and receive money anonymously. In a roommate seeking situation, that really shouldn’t be necessary, so it's a scammer red flag.

Finally, while it's obvious we take anti-roommate-scamming very seriously . . .

. . . we do NOT recommend blanket paranoia toward all roommates coming from outside your city

This has been the reaction of some to the roommate scam problem. While this reaction is understandable, it's still not rational or constructive.

Many students will be coming from outside your city to seek advanced degrees. Many will then seek roommates. Those students might be the most intellectually sophisticated, respectful, and uncomplicated roommates you'd ever hope to find, in part due to all the time they'll need to spend studying.

All that stuff we said above? Don't use any of that as an excuse to be a bigot toward roommate seekers not from your city.

Do allow yourself to be worldly and open-minded. Other doesn't necessarily = bad.

Just hold them to our roomiematch.com anti-scam guidelines, stringently!

If they don't fail them? Then they didn't fail them.

But if anyone does fail them, let us know immediately. We'll toss that trash right out.