Scammers stealing deposits on fake North Vancouver rental properties

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North Vancouver RCMP say scammers are stealing cash deposits from would-be renters on homes that aren’t even for rent.

Cpl. Richard De Jong says scammers are posting rental property ads on Craigslist that seem like great deals to prospective renters. These scammers then request an e-transfer deposit from the renters in order to hold the unit until it can be viewed. De Jong says typically, because of a limited market supply, the person looking to rent feels pressured to secure the deal and complies with the request.

The would-be renters are then sent an address for a rental unit that is not on the market.

“Scammers often prey on people’s needs, urgency and desperation,” said De Jong. “First-time renters and those not familiar with rental rules and laws tend to be easily swayed. Don’t pay any money up front before you have an opportunity to view and verify the rental unit.”

De Jong says the owners of the property are always unaware their address is being used in a scam.

Two people have reported being scammed in North Vancouver in the last two weeks.

“We always say if there are two people who report (a scam) there always two or three or four more who didn’t come forward out of shame or embarrassment,” he said.

To avoid rental scams, the RCMP says to watch for these warning signs:

  • Rental price is unusually low.
  • Presently the unit is not available to be viewed.
  • Person communicates only by email.
  • Asks for money up front.
  • Refuses to meet in person.

Post Source: Vancouver Sun

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