Online scams are constantly filling up the virtual world these days – from romance scams to identity fraud scams. It seems like the schemes keep getting more creative . . . or they get more stupid.
Windsor authorities are warning citizens of a recent rental scam. The scheme: criminals will pose as landlords, offering tenants unbelievable deals on rentals. The kicker is they ask the tenants to send them money before renting out the homes.
Unfortunately for the scammers, their organization was ousted before it could really kick off. A person looking for an apartment contacted the authorities after being contacted by one of the phony landlords.
“The fraudsters use sites like Kijiji to lure people in and then ask for a deposit and say they will send or leave the keys at the property for viewing because they are unable to attend in person as they live or work out of town.”
Scams like these are relatively easy to avoid. It should be a huge red flag if a potential landlord is asking you to send money before signing paperwork. If you do happen to find yourself compromised by a scam like this or a similar one, contact your local authorities immediately.
The local Windsor authorities offer tips to future tenants:
- Contact the landlord directly and arrange to see the apartment in person.
- Request to see a lease/contract and review it thoroughly.
- Conduct an online search to see if it was previously for sale or for rent. Scammers have been known to use previous ads, so this research helps to ensure it’s not a duplicate post. If you find another post, contact the landlord or agent to confirm your information.
- Don’t send money to strangers. Money transfers are very popular with online scams because they are difficult to trace and can instantly end up anywhere in the world.
- Contact Equifax and Transunion if you’ve provided personal information.