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Safety Tips for roommates


In the world of real estate and rentals, large sums of money change hands very quickly. There are things we can do to keep you safe but there are also a few things you can do too.

What SpareRoom does to keep you safe

At SpareRoom we take our users' safety extremely seriously. Finding a room to rent is already stressful enough without having to worry about anything else at the same time. Here's a list of the most common safety-related questions we get asked.

Do you screen advertisers?

Because isn't a broker or letting agency it's not practical (or possible) to reference check every single user on the site. However, safety and security are our number one priorities. Too many rental sites are prone to scams. SpareRoom employs a dedicated team of staff so you can be sure your safety is our top priority.

Every single ad on SpareRoom is checked by a complex set of filters then manually approved by trained staff.

What should I be doing to keep myself safe?

While we do everything in our power to keep you safe on SpareRoom, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself too.

Be wary of anything that seems too good to be true. This includes:

  • Any ad that seems too cheap for the neighborhood or the quality of apartment shown on the photos.
  • Ads where the details aren't consistent; e.g. an apartment in SoHo claiming to have a view of Central Park. This is a clear indicator the advertiser has no idea of the geography of New York and it's probably a fake.
  • Any advertiser who claims they're out of town and unable to show you the room, but expects money up front before you've seen it.
  • Being asked to pay anything (even to someone you know) by Western Union or other money transfer scheme. These payment systems are regularly used by scammers - there's always a more appropriate way to arrange payment and, if the advertiser is genuine, they'll be able to suggest an alternative.
  • Receiving inconsistent messages where the language used is lower quality than in the ad itself. Because scammers are often from outside of the US their English isn't always great. Receiving messages where the language deteriorates after the first message or two is often a giveaway.

If you come across any of these warning signs, alert our security team by contacting us and reporting the ad in question. There's a 'report this ad' link at the bottom of every ad detail page so you can report anything you think is suspicious. It might be a false alarm but it's always better to let us check it out for you.