Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.



  • The interested party is communicating from outside the country and
    primarily through e-mail.
  • There are notable grammatical errors in the e-mail.
  • The interested renter wants to use an intermediary or friend to make
  • The amount of money being sent is OVER the required deposit amount.
  • The potential renter backs out of renting the unit for some reason and
    asks for the deposit or overages back.

**We want to stress that there are genuine requests for housing rentals
coming from abroad, but it is important to use caution.

Suggestions on how to Avoid a Rental Scam:

  • Never accept more payment than the amount you request and never pay anyone you haven’t met in person.
  • Always ask for references.
  • Google the potential renter’s name to see if anything comes up that is of concern.
  • Inspect the money orders by holding a note up to the light, and look for a watermark picture of Ben Franklin on the left side. There should also be a dark security thread running to the right of the watermark, with the tiny letters “USPS” facing backward and forward. You can also take the money orders to the nearest post office for examination.
  • Take the money order or check to your bank and don’t give any money away until the check is fully processed and approved.
  • Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person – and never wire funds (e.g. Western Union)
  • Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, PayPal account, etc).
  • Never rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.

To report a postal money order scam:

Call the local post office or Postal Inspectors at (303) 853-6325. To report a fraud complaint, call the Fraud Complaint Hotline at (877) 876-2455 or visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Web site at postalinspectors.uspis.gov/.

To report fraud in Colorado:

For more information on different types of fraud and how to report to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, go to http://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/.

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Off-Campus Handbook download

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Student Activities Office
Division of Academic Affairs

Email: James.Kohles@unco.edu
Office: 970-351-2871
Desk: 970-351-2172
Fax: 970-351-1055