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Police Cautioning Residents Of An Internet Rental Scam

Web posted on August 21, 2014

The Guelph Police Service has received several complaints over the past few weeks in relation to online Rental Scams.

As a result, the Fraud Unit would like to remind those looking to rent or those who have posted a property for rent to take extra care in protecting themselves from fraud.

Whether you are renting the property or looking to rent DEAL IN PERSON and NOT through EMAIL.

Rental scams vary, but here are two common scenarios:

A fraudster poses as a landlord on a website such as Kijiji and requests that the deposit is wired to them because they are currently out of the province or county. Once the money is paid, the victim discovers that the rental unit doesn't exist.

A fraudster poses as a tenant and responds to an internet advertisement. Again, they are out of the province or country. They send a cheque or bank draft for an amount in excess of the deposit required with instructions to wire back the overpayment. DO NOT WIRE money back to someone who has paid in this manner. The method of payment will turn out to be fraudulent and you will be out the money.

Tips:
Be very cautious when dealing with someone you only contact with via phone and/or Internet. DEAL IN PERSON.

--> Never wire transfer funds (e.g. Western Union or Money Gram)
--> Beware fake cheques and money orders
--> Never give out financial information
--> Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen properties
--> Refuse background/credit checks until you have met the landlord in person
--> Excess payments. Never wire or transfer excess funds to anyone.
--> Be extra cautious during Rental Season. Fraud becomes more prevalent at the beginning and end of university or college terms.

If you believe you have identified a fraudulent ad, please contact the website to express your concerns and have it removed.

If you suspect that you were subject to a fraudulent transaction attempt, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre @ www.antifraudcentre.ca.


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