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Consumers Renting Property Should Beware of Online Scam

Durham Region, ON – Consumers looking for property to rent should beware of a scam that involves rental properties posted to online classifieds sites and take steps to protect themselves against fraud.

A scam has recently surfaced that concerns non-existent property advertised for rent on online classifieds site such as Kijiji or Craigslist where property details, photos and the name of the REALTOR® listing the property has been scraped from other sites. While this scam has been active in various parts of Canada in the past, it has recently surfaced locally and diminishing inventories of rental properties may result in consumers who are more vulnerable to this kind of fraud.

Christine Marquis, President of the Durham Region Association of REALTORS® describes how the scam works. “The scammer impersonates the REALTOR® by using his or her name to respond to inquiries from prospective renters. The scammer is unavailable to meet the prospective renter in-person at the property and proposes that funds be forwarded to rent the property. The ‘owner’ will, in turn, will make arrangements for someone to meet the renter at the property and hand over the keys. As you can imagine, no one shows up at the property to meet the renter.”

The risk for citizens falling victim to this type of scam becomes greater in markets where there are fewer rental vacancies. When demand is high and vacancies low, consumers may take greater risks to secure a rental situation – risks that they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise take.

Consumers are advised, when using online classifieds websites to ensure all financial transactions take place locally and in person. Sites like Kijiji and Craigslist also provide safety guidance on using the service and maintain a list of common scams on their websites. Consumers who wish to use this type of service to purchase anything are advised to review this information.

About the Author Durham REI

The Durham Real Estate Investor club began in 2008. Whether you are just starting your journey, have been investing for a few years, or are a well seasoned real estate investor the Durham Real Estate Investor Club has many benefits to you.

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