How not to get ripped off in an online rental scam | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How not to get ripped off in an online rental scam

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November 17, 2017 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA – RCMP have issued a warning to those looking online to rent a home in the Central Okanagan.

Police are hoping the public can learn a lesson from a cautionary tale involving a rental fraud in West Kelowna.

RCMP say they were called in late September by a West Kelowna resident that narrowly avoided being ripped off by an online rental scam using classified ads.

“The scammer allegedly copied images and detailed rental information from online advertisements associated to real Central Okanagan properties and then created a fictitious ad on an alternate site with altered contact information,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says in a media release.

O’Donaghey says the bogus ads will have a fictitious backstory about why the property is being rented and once the fraud victim shows interest, they are sent a rental application.

“In this particular case the fraudster later contacted the victim by phone and advised that their application was accepted,” O’Donaghey says. “While pressuring the would-be renter to secure the deal, an e-transfer deposit of approximately $1,000 is requested and a promise is made to promptly courier the premises’ keys, which of course never show up.”

RCMP have offered some tips so you can avoid getting scammed:

  • Physically go to the property and book a viewing when searching for rentals
  • Conduct your own open source queries to ensure the advertisement isn’t a duplicate
  • Do not transfer funds to unknown individuals
  • Trust your instincts, if it doesn’t seem right, don’t do it
  • Consult with a friend or family member first

For even more information about the wide variety of scams out there, check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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