A Lumby resident was swindled out of $1,000 after falling prey to an ongoing rental scam and now police are warning others to stay alert.
Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said rental scams continue to be reported.
This most recent incident saw a fraudster contact the victim who was in search of a place to rent. The fraudster told the potential renter that they owned a rental property in Armstrong. They shared photos of the property and provided documents with the victim who then e-transferred a $1,000 deposit to secure the place before viewing.
They realized they were swindled, though, when they arrived at the Armstrong home a few days later and met 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,” media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski said.
“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.