Saanich police are asking the public to be wary after a resident nearly fell victim to a rental scam.
On May 27, the would-be tenant reported the fraudulent rental listing to the police. Fortunately, they caught on before transferring money to the fraudster although not everyone is so lucky, said Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich Police Department.
People running rental scams will use websites on which homes available for purchase or rent are advertised and steal the information and photos from a listing to build their own fake rental ad, Anastasiades explained.
After the advertisement reels in a prospective renter the scammer will request money – typically an electronic payment, he said. Then, when the victim shows up to move in, they realize they’ve been scammed.
For sale AND for rent? Fraudsters take current listings and post them for rent, requesting a deposit be transferred or wired. Advice? Meet the landlord in person, see the home you're renting, then exchange money to secure the home. #currentscams #rentalscam #Saanich pic.twitter.com/Rqt2nZe6MX
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) May 27, 2020
Anastasiades said that in Saanich, rental scams are more common in the summer because that’s when a large number of university and college students are looking to solidify their rentals for the fall.
To avoid these types of scams, police recommend going to see the home and meeting with the landlord before exchanging money – which Anastasiades said should also be done in person. He also suggests searching the address online to see if the listing could be fake.