Throughout the process of building www.furnishedfinder.com, I’ve made it my mission to stop scammers in their tracks. They are the nemesis of our industry, and I thoroughly enjoy pulling the rug out from underneath them. Knowing that online housing scammers prey on traveling nurses, this two-minute read could be the difference between keeping or losing big money.
What you learn in this article could save you thousands!!
One of the ways that travelers connect with each other, and landlords looking to host them, is through Facebook (Meta) groups. If you’re a member of Furnished Finder’s Travel Nurse Housing Facebook group, you know how helpful our group is when it comes to learning from other travelers and being part of our community. However, when it comes to finding housing, there’s a vulnerability within ALL Facebook groups that travel nurses absolutely must be aware of. Please keep in mind that this view may not necessarily be the view of The Gypsy Nurse.
Scammers are Targeting Nurses Via Messenger.
Be careful using Facebook Messenger to connect with potential landlords! This might be my Jerry Maguire mission moment, but I can’t sit back and let overseas scammers take advantage of hard-working healthcare professionals. Calling for a boycott of Facebook Messenger may not be popular, but it will hopefully provide enough exposure to the problem that prevents you from losing a couple of grand!
Facebook Messenger is Worse than Craigslist.
While scammers historically preferred setting up shop on free listing sites like Zillow and Craigslist, they are now focusing their efforts on travel nurse housing-related FB groups! Before I expose the ruse, I should mention that Facebook does not provide group admins with adequate member-screening tools, so while we try our best to identify and remove fake accounts, it is an impossible battle.
That said, here’s the racket:
- Scammers view your ‘housing-wanted’ group post through one of their fake accounts that got approved.
- Then they’ll reach out to you (using a different profile) via FB Messenger, asking if you still need a place in the city that you just mentioned in your post.
- Once you engage them, the ruse begins. Here comes 20+ beautiful images, a rent price that is surprisingly affordable, and they have immediate availability! Oh, and of course you can bring your pet.
- They try to convince you to send a deposit immediately to hold the place and they are actually quite convincing.
What just happened is that they used the information you provided against you. The hard part is that legitimate landlords use Messenger as well!
Here are the best ways to protect yourself.
- Request a phone call – Scammers prefer to do everything via text/messenger. If they won’t talk to you over the phone, it is a huge red flag.
- Request a Facetime/What’sApp VIDEO walk-through. If they won’t provide a live video walk-through, it is another huge red flag.
- Stick to websites that verify landlords like www.furnishedfinder.com. On Furnished Finder, travelers feel comfortable booking housing because you know that landlords are vetted and legitimate. They are who they say they are.
Furnished Finder wants you to stay safe at all costs, and we hope this information is helpful. There are inherent risks in everything we do, but traveling healthcare professionals are in the crosshairs of scammers and must always be hyper-vigilant.
We hope you found this article on how Facebook Messenger is hurting travel nurses helpful. Are there any other tips you would like to share with fellow travel nurses when it comes to Facebook Messenger and scams? Comment below.