The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are warning the public to be wary of an ongoing rental scam after a Lumby resident was cheated out of $1000.
Rental scams continue to be reported to police and in this most recent incident, the fraudster contacted the victim, who was in search of a rental, and told them they owned a house in Armstrong they were willing to rent. The fraudster sent the victim photos of the property as well as personal identification documents. The victim e-transferred a deposit of $1000 to secure the property prior to viewing it. They realized they had fallen victim to a scam when they went to the property a few days later and were met by the legitimate homeowners.
With the limited number of properties available, these con artists are taking advantage of renters who are feeling pressured to act quickly to secure accommodation,” states Constable Chris Terleski, Media Relations Officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. Fraudsters can be very convincing, but as a renter, prior to any money changing hands, there are some precautionary steps you can take to protect yourself from falling victim to scams such as this.
Tips to avoid rental scams:
- Arrange for you or someone you trust to visit the property in person;
- Talk to others in the area to confirm who owns the property;
- Conduct an online search of any photos of the rental or the address to see if it has been associated to scams in the past;
- Ask to see previous utility bills for the address to confirm the person is indeed the landlord;
- Ensure a proper rental agreement is provided and signed by both parties;
- Do not send money as a deposit until you verify the property is legitimately for rent.
- If you have not provided personal information or lost any money, you do not need to contact your local police. North Okanagan residents are encouraged to report this, or any other frauds to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.