KEMPTVILLE — Grenville County OPP have received complaints about a rental scam involving a Kemptville home being advertised for rent on www.freerentads.com.
Police say scammers create fraudulent classified ads for rentals, which are usually posted with a below-average rental price.
Scammers give interested consumers a rental questionnaire, which asks for personal information including banking details, contact information, occupation, and income.
They identify themselves as landlords working overseas, and say the rent is at a discounted rate in order to get good tenants who will take care of the property while they’re away on business. They also say showings or tours of the property are unavailable, but a full refund can be given if the rental doesn’t meet the consumer’s satisfaction.
Once an offer is accepted, the renter is asked to send first and last months’ rent — either by a money service business, email money transfer, or bank wire — in exchange for the keys. The keys are promised to be express mailed to the tenant’s current address, but no keys are ever sent. Victims are given many reasons to send extra funds, such as for a security deposit, or to pay for more months at a discounted rate.
Once victims become aware of the fraud, the ads are deleted and communication with the suspect is terminated.
OPP are highlighting warning signs and ways to protect yourself from scams such as this:
When searching for rentals, go to the address. Schedule a showing and confirm its availability.
Request a lease/contract. Review it thoroughly.
Complete open source searches on rental addresses to ensure it’s not a duplicate post.
Do not send funds to strangers.
Contact Equifax and Transunion if you’ve provided sensitive information on applications.
Go with your gut. If it seems fishy it probably is.
If you have been a victim of a scam, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501 or Grenville County O.P.P. Communication Centre at 1-888-310-1122.