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Unlike Morrissey I don’t know how Joan of Arc felt. Morrissey may write great lyrics and I certainly write lousy blog posts, but neither of us can really imagine leaving home at 17, convincing the Dauphin to place us at the head of his demoralised army in the hope of ejecting the English forces and thus determining the future of France, Europe and the world beyond.

However, I am starting to wonder if Paris is still as difficult to penetrate as it was in Joan’s ill fated attempt in September, 1429. Appreciating that Paris hosts countless visitors, accommodates many foreign students, it seems that for individuals from foreign shores the best tool available to them for finding rented accommodation, the internet, has quickly become a minefield of scam postings.

So if you are looking online for a place in Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and most other major European cities, especially on Craigslist.org, DO NOT wire or send money prior to obtaining access to any property. Some scams are easy to spot. If the rent seems far too low for the property and or location it most likely is a scam. Last week on Craigslist in the Paris apartments for rent an advertiser had posted some photos of the property which was claimed to be very close to Blvd. Voltaire and the views from the windows showed beautiful green fields rolling away to distant trees. This poster might have been better served by posting on the Loire Valley. However, some scammers are slightly more intelligent and the rents advertised are commensurate with the property and location. You will be able to detect a scam in any reply you receive if any prospective landlord is not available to show you the property. The most common reasons are that they have a job out of the country, or they are managing the property for their parents and reside out of the country, or they are off to Colombia to work for their church. These declarations will always be followed by their willingness to reserve it for you and want you to proceed with the ‘rental process’ which requires you to send rent and deposit and the keys or a ‘legal’ document will be sent to you to validate your tenancy. These are obvious scams. They are just time consuming and become extremely irritating after you open so many of them.

Anyhow, to reiterate, you can avoid all these scams by adopting the simple and safe course….DO NOT wire or send money prior to obataining access to any property.

Bonne chance.

Thomas Doughty

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