Avoiding Scams

Many students have found housing on Craigslist.org, a popular website for housing and other services with local pages. Craigslist recommends that you follow the following tips to avoid would-be scammers:

  • Deal locally with folks you can meet in person.
  • Never wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram, or another wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer.
  • Craigslist is not involved in any transaction and does not handle payments, or provide escrow, buyer protection, or seller certification.
  • Never give out financial information (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal information, etc.)
  • Do not rent housing sight-unseen - that amazing rental may not exist.
  • Do not submit to credit or background checks until you have met the landlord/agent in person.

At times we have had people try to purchase social security numbers from J1 employees. These people may come to your housing or work. Do not agree to this. Notify your employer, sponsor, and the police. Please provide a description of the person(s) who attempt this type of activity as well as their vehicle and license plate number.

Another danger can occur when people approach you and tell you they can get you a high-paying job somewhere else. These people may be from your home country and may even know someone from your family. What these people promise you for work is often false. These situations can be very dangerous for you. Please contact the police, your sponsor, and your employer immediately! Provide a description of the person(s) and the vehicle they are driving, including the license plate number. Do not believe these people.

If you have any problems with your housing accommodation, please contact your sponsor immediately. The U.S. State Department J1 Visa Emergency Hotline may also be reached 24 hours at 866-283-9090.