On-line Rentals Scams Apparently Increasing

Kelowna - Scammers are looking to capitalize on the housing rental market by offering counterfeit online deals to prospective tenants.
Online rental scams appear to be on the rise in Kelowna as fraudsters look to cash in on people looking for their next home. The scam starts with a counterfeit rental listing online with photos and details sometimes copied from a previous legitimate listing. The rent is often reduced so as to entice potential tenants and no application is ever turned down. The con-man will then get the victim to send the damage deposit, typically via money transfer, which can be claimed instantly anywhere in the world, and are virtually untraceable. Once the money is paid, the new tenant discovers there actually isn't any rental.
There have been at least two such listings identified recently in Kelowna and likely many more that have yet to be revealed.
Prosecution of these types of frauds tend to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, as contact is usually made through email only, fraudulent information is used in the listing and the scammer may not even be in the country.
Some tips to avoid being scammed:
•  Is the price too good to be true? Check rental rates in the area as fraudsters will often try to ensnare multiple victims with unbelievably low prices.
•  Are they the owner or property manager? Be sure to view the rental with the property manager or owner.
•  Are they just communicating with you via email? Beware if they don’t want to talk to you on the phone.
•  Exercise extreme caution before wiring deposits or rent payments using a money wiring service, especially to foreign countries. Money wiring services are very popular for internet scams.
•  Do not, under any circumstances, give out personal information such as your Social Insurance Number, bank account, or credit card numbers.
•  Ask the neighbours about the landowner and history of the property. Neighbours are a great source of information regarding the owner and property and can often confirm their identity.

For more information on frauds and scams, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website. http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/

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