The Guelph Police Service Fraud Unit would like to warn everyone about a rental scam. The following is how the scam occurs:
– Scammers create fraudulent classified ads, often online, for rentals available in a preferred location.
– These rental properties are advertised at a below average rent for a “quick sale”.
– Scammers portray themselves as property owners working overseas.
– Interested consumers are then given a questionnaire that includes their banking details.
– Once a “deal” is made, consumers are instructed to send first and last months’ rent by money service, email transfer or bank wire in exchange for keys, which are said to be sent by express mail to the tenants’ current address.
– At times, additional funds are requested by the scammers for reasons such as a security deposit, etc.
– No keys are ever sent and the property advertised is not available for rent.
– Victims eventually become aware of the scam and the fraudulent ads are deleted along with all communication with the suspect.
How to Protect Yourself
– When searching for rentals, physically attend the address. Schedule a showing and confirm it is available.
– Request a lease / contract and review it thoroughly.
– Conduct open source searches on rental addresses to ensure it is not a duplicate post.
– Do not send funds to strangers
– Contact Equifax and Transunion if you have provided sensitive information on applications.
– Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
(Via The Guelph Police Service)