We received a call from a prospective tenant enquiring about one of our rental listings on the internet. This seemed normal, however, the enquirer went on to say they had seen the rental property listed on ‘Gum Tree’ as well. The enquirer told us the landlord had contacted her directly (via email), promising the property to her and asking her to pay two weeks in advance, along with the bond of six weeks rent. The “landlord” then advised her that he would post out the keys, and that he would contact us and advise us that he had decided to rent the property out to her.
The truth to this scenario is that the prospective tenant had been ‘scammed’ by a fake landlord using the details from our legitimate listing on internet. This case shouldn’t put anyone off from searching for properties on-line, but you need to remain aware to minimise your risk of being scammed.
Signs to look for to avoid being scammed:
- Scammers normally use only email communication to avoid be identified. Keep all copies of emails – they may be helpful for authorities later on.
- Do thorough on-line searches on the rental address and see if there are any contact details for a landlord or rental manager. Call the number and speak to someone in person.
- Be careful what information you hand over prior to your extensive search.
- Insist on seeing the property prior to handing over any money – a “drive by” inspection is not enough.
What to do if you have been scammed:
- Act quickly.
- Contact your bank and reset passwords on all accounts.
- Contact IDCARE on 1300 432273 for support and to develop a response plan.
More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website (scamwatch.gov.au), including how to make a report (scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam) and where to get help. You can also follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts. Sadly, in these times of uncertainly – and with an under-supply of rental properties on the market – some people fall victim to scammers in their desperation to secure a rental property.
Stay safe and aware! Remember the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Call Lisa Akeroyd at Barossa Rental Specialists on 0414 335 660 – or drop into our welcoming Tanunda office – to discuss your rental strategy.