Florastrasse 14
8008 Zürich
Published on 26.05.2023

Watch out for online scammers renting apartments and selling cars in Switzerland

In the digital world we live in, not only has our daily life changed, but so have the methods fraudsters use to reach their victims. One growing area of this is the online housing and vehicle market. Due to the increasing prevalence of fraud tactics in these areas in Switzerland, it is crucial to be aware of potential threats and how to avoid them.

Recognizing fraud in apartment rent

In Switzerland, where demand for housing is high, scammers often take advantage of the urgency of people looking for apartments. A typical example is the publication of ads for incredibly attractive and inexpensive apartments. For example, a scammer might create an ad for a centrally located apartment in Zurich for only CHF 800 per month.

If the apartment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The scammer will often insist that the deposit or even the first month's rent be paid before the viewing, under the pretext that he is currently abroad. This is a huge red flag. With reputable offers, you will never be asked to pay money before you have viewed the apartment and signed a lease.

Recognizing fraud in the sale of vehicles

Online scammers also take advantage of the used car market. A common scam scenario might look like this: A seller advertises a vehicle at what appears to be a very low price, often with a story about why it needs to be sold so quickly - for example, due to a move abroad.

You agree to buy the car and the "seller" insists that a deposit or even the full amount be paid before the car is picked up or delivered. You transfer the money, but the car never arrives and the "seller" is suddenly unavailable.

Protect yourself from fraud

To protect yourself from such scams, you should follow some basic rules:

Be sceptical: If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

No advance payments: Never pay money up front before seeing the home or testing the vehicle.

Personal contact is important: If the other party insists that the transaction be conducted exclusively online, it could be a scam.

Use secure payment methods: Avoid payment methods where you have no protection as a buyer or renter, such as bank transfers.

Get informed: Always check the market conditions to know what is a realistic price for an apartment or a vehicle in the desired location or the chosen brand.

Verify the provider: Verify the identity of the provider and make sure they are the owner of the vehicle or home. You can do this by meeting in person, checking paperwork, and obtaining references if needed.

Trust your instincts: If something seems strange or you feel uncomfortable, don't hesitate to back away from the situation. Your sense of security is a valuable tool.

What to do if you have been cheated?

Despite all precautions, it may happen that you become a victim of fraud. In such a case, it is important to act immediately. Inform your bank if you have already made a payment - they may be able to charge back the money in some cases. Also report the scam to the local police and the platform where the fraudulent offer was posted.

In the digital age, it's easy to be seduced by attractive online offers. But it's also easier than ever to stay informed and make sure we don't fall victim to scammers. Stay alert and informed, and you'll be able to safely take advantage of the many benefits of online home and vehicle searches.

At the end of the day, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. By following the tips above and being generally vigilant, together we can expose the online scammers and ensure that the digital world remains a safe place for everyone.

Please contact us for a personal consultation:

locationLavaterstrasse 67, 8002 Zürich location +41 44 552 72 32 location