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Rental scam reports involving REALTORS® resurface



November 27, 2014

Reports of another rental scam have been received by the RAE this November, in
which bogus ‘rental properties’ have been posted to popular online classified sites with the intention of tricking would-be renters into handing over damage deposits.
The advertised ‘rental properties’ in question are non-existent and have been posted to online classified sites such as Kijiji. Property details and photos of the false ‘rentals’ have been lifted from one or more local REALTORS®’ MLS® listings. While variations of this scam have occurred in Alberta before, reports indicate fraudulent activity persists. Diminishing rental property inventories in Edmonton may result in consumers who are more vulnerable to this type of fraud.
In recent reports, the scammer, posing as ‘owner’ or ‘REALTOR®’, asks for damage deposits from prospective renters who may be in crunches to secure residences. The scammer is unavailable to meet the prospective renter in-person at the property and proposes instead that funds be forwarded to secure the ‘rental’. The owner promises to make arrangements for someone to meet the renter at the property and hand over the keys. As you can imagine, no one shows up at the property to meet the renter.

Consumers are advised, when using online classified websites to ensure all financial transactions take place locally and in-person. Sites such as Kijiji also provide safety guidance on using their services and they maintain a list of common scams for users to be aware of. Consumers who wish to use these types of services to purchase anything are advised to review this information. 

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