Rental Scams

There are two types of rental frauds and scams;

1. Fraudulent renters looking for properties to rent.

2. Fraudulent properties for rent.

Fraudulent Renters Looking for Properties to Rent

Fraudulent renters will ask to be shown a rental property or if they do not live in the area will send email messages asking to rent a property. They don't have any intention of actually renting the property.

There 2 ways that a scammer can run a fraudulent rental scheme.

1. They provide a fraudulent form of payment and then they will ask for a refund of some of the money due to overpayment.

2. They rent the property but don't move in and then the fraudster uses the property as a rental property.

Things to Do to Prevent This Type of Fraud.

  • Check the information that the person provides to you and verify their identity.
  • If the renter overpays tell them that you will apply the overpayment to the first months rent.
  • Verify that the money has actually been transferred to your bank account.
  • Don't give out your banking information. Have them the funds wired or e-transfer the money to an email address that is specifically for this purpose and not linked to your personal email.

Fraudulent Properties for Rent

There are two ways that a rental property could be fraudulent;

1. The rental property doesn't exist.

2. The property is real and exists however, the rental property doesn't belong to the fraudster.

Ways to Avoid this Type of Fraud

  • Actually visit and check the property out.
  • Ask if you can talk to someone who has rented the same place in the past or has dealt with the same person or company.
  • Deal face to face with the person who is renting out the property.
  • Be wary if the landlord only wants to deal with you via email, won't talk to you on the phone or lives far away from the rental property.
  • Don't give out your Social Insurance Number, even if it is part of the application process.
  • Check other rental listings in the general area and see what the going rates are for rental properties.
  • If the rent is significantly lower than other comparible properties it is probably a scam.
  • Conduct an internet search on the property and see if there are other ads for the property.

Keep Your Money

Scammers will be looking to get your money upfront by asking for a security deposit and / or initial rent payments. Usually, the want cash, wire service transfers or e-mail transfers. Wherever possible try to make payments with a credit card.

If the landlord wants a security deposit that is higher than the law requires or wants additional fees to be paid be wary.

Avoid using Western Union and MoneyGram for sending rent payments or security deposits especially oversears. Both are used for Internet scams because the funds are available instantly and untraceable worldwide.

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