The housing choice voucher program, often referred to as Section 8 housing assistance is the name for a federal program of assistance to low income families, senior citizen and disabled people to help them pay for housing in the public market. Due to a high demand for Section 8 benefits, there are waiting lists in order to receive benefits. Scammers have been taking advantage of this by constructing websites that appear to be legitimate Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) websites where people are prompted to sign up for the wait lists and provide personal information as part of the process. Often these phony websites also require a fee for registering for the wait lists. The phony websites look very legitimate and may even carry the HUD logo. Unfortunately, anyone providing personal information to these phony websites will end up a victim of identity theft and any money paid to enroll will be lost forever to a scammer.
The truth is that there is no fee for signing up for a Section 8 wait list and HUD does not have a website where you can sign up for the wait list. HUD provides Section 8 funds directly to the local housing authorities throughout the country. If you are interested in applying for these funds, you need to contact your local housing authority to determine how to apply in your area. You can find the contact information for your local housing authority at this interactive page of the HUD website http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/pha/contacts
Under no circumstances is a fee required to sign up for the wait list for Section 8 funds.
If you receive a phone call, text message or email that purports to be from your local housing authority asking you to apply for benefits, it is a scam. No housing authority contacts prospective Section 8 applicants in this manner. In addition, be particularly wary of using Google or other search engines to search for how to enroll in Section 8 waiting lists. Sophisticated scammers are adept at manipulating the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to get their phony websites at or near the top of your search results.