Wednesday 19 June 2019
Scam alert: rental scams involving professionally listed properties
Unfortunately, it seems that dishonest people are always finding new ways to exploit good folks and prey upon ignorance and desperation. Recently, the local real estate association has been posting [warnings for real estate professionals] to keep an eye on sites like Kijiji for their properties being posted as rentals.
It seems scammers are scooping the pictures and information and posting them, but directing people not to contact the agent or knock on the door because the owners are not home. The goal is to get a first and last month deposit without the potential renter even seeing the property.
While it seems unfeasible that someone would fall for this, a tough rental market can lead to desperation as well as some people just not knowing how things work (elderly, immigrants, first-time renters), and wanting to get a foot in the door before someone else "steals it out from under them"..
If you or someone you know are looking for a rental, keep an eye open for these situations. You should never deliver money to a landlord without meeting them and seeing the property.
And if you see something you suspect might be a scam like this, it might not be a bad idea to contact police and let them know.