Real Estate rental scams

BEWARE: Real Estate rental scams

PHOTO: Rental scamming is on the rise. GETTY

The year has seen a fresh start for fraudsters and scam artists, seeing another spike in COVID-19 scams and text-based cons.

ACM has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.aucyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities.

If you have been the victim of a scam report it to scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.

Rental scams

  • These scams target people seeking new rental accommodation by offering fake rental properties to convince people into handing over money or personal information, according to www.accc.gov.au.
  • The scammer will post advertisements on real estate or classified websites or target people who have posted on social media that they are looking for a room.
  • After the victim responds, the scammer will request an upfront deposit to secure the property or phish for personal information through a ‘tenant application form’, promising to provide the keys after the payment or information is provided.
  • The scammer may come up with excuses for further payments and the victim often only realises they have been scammed when the keys don’t arrive and the scammer cuts off contact.
  • Some scammers will even impersonate real estate agents and organise fake inspections, victims will then arrive to discover the property doesn’t exist or is currently occupied.
  • Anyone who suspects they are a victim of a rental scam should act quickly to reduce the risk of financial loss or other damages.
  • They should contact their bank as soon as possible and, if relevant, contact the platform on which they were scammed to inform them of the circumstances.

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