Online fraud: property rental scams10 April 2013
Recently, there has been a rise in fraudulent property rental adverts that try to trick you with non-existent properties or bargain-basement prices. These adverts spring up everywhere as the holidays approach so if you are thinking of finding a property to rent on the internet, pay close attention to the following advice.
The OSI website gives us a few clues about how to spot a dubious property rental advert:
- If the owner fails to provide or does not provide proper identification.
- If only an e-mail address or mobile phone number is given as a means of contact.
- If they do not provide documentation proving that they are the rightful owners of the property.
- If they ask for money up front without providing any kind of guarantee that you will receive a rental contract and the keys.
- If the payment systems provided are not reliable.
- If you are asked to pay an intermediary to show you the product (normally houses, cars, etc.) this could be a sign that the seller is trying to trick you.
- If the advert claims to be offering a «mega bargain», and the cost of the product/service is much lower than the market value, you should be suspicious.
- When the advert is not clearly written.
- Be suspicious when the advert contains special rate telephone numbers (starting with 905, 803, 806 or 807).