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Online fraud: property rental scams

10 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).
For more info, visit the OSI web.