St. Albert RCMP warning residents about fraudulent rental scam
Fraudsters posing as landlords online are scamming potential renters
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St. Albert RCMP is warning potential renters about fraudulent ads for apartments and houses online.
There have been three incidents recently of fraudsters posing as landlords online and demanding money as a security or damage deposit for fictitious residences, says St. Albert RCMP Const. M.J. Burroughs
“They wire money to the fraudulent landlord, usually as a security deposit,” she said. “If the fraudster sees that they could get more money, they may approach again and ask for more to secure the property. Other times they've just moved on and at some point the tenant realizes that in fact there isn't any property.”
According to a St. Albert RCMP press release, the fraudsters usually post photos of a property from a previous rental ad before asking for money to be wired.
In order to prevent people for falling victim to the scam, police recommend residents avoid wiring money online, ensure a proper tenancy agreement is drafted and signed by both parties, and that residents ask the landlord to show picture identification to prove they're the person named in the document.
While it isn't necessarily a requirement that they produce the identification, the renter should be suspicious if they refuse, Burroughs said.
“If landlords aren't willing to provide information to tenants about knowing these sort of things, then that's definitely a red flag – that maybe this isn't a legitimate contract.”