The maxim, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” applies to myriad scams — including recent rental frauds in Kamloops.
RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn said the detachment in the past week has received at least two complaints involving people who were scammed after responding to an online rental ad. In both cases, the ad was for a property on Summit Drive and the interested parties were asked to send an international monetary etransfer to Africa to secure the rental.
“Although both these scams were reported to have occurred on the rental website Zoeken, this type of scam is not new and can happen on any website,” Evelyn said. “In some cases, scammers will pull photos from legitimate listings or properties for sale and present them as their own, but be unable to show the property in person. It can be easy to be fooled, especially if you’re moving to town yourself and are unable to visit the property in person.”
Police say potential tenants should always ensure they or someone they trust visits a property first before exchanging any money. Prospective tenants should also confirm the person offering the property is its actual owner.
“Taking the time to talk to neighbours in the area or a building’s superintendent can save you a whole lot of time and money on the other end,” Evelyn said.
Tips to avoid rental scams:
• Visit the property in person.
• Ask the landlord to show you proper identification.
• Talk to others in the area to confirm who owns the property.
• 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.
• Consider paying with something other than cash, such as a cheque or bank draft.
If you have been scammed of money or have provided personal information to a potential fraudster, report the incident to Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. For more information on scams and frauds, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, which can be found by clicking here.