February 1st, 2013
As if Ontario Landlords don’t have enough to watch out for in 2013.
We already have to deal with grow ops, small rent increases, and bad tenants. Now an international rental property scam is targeting landlords and tenants in Brantford, Ontario.
According to a news article in the Expositor newspaper, the fraud unit of the Brantford police is warning landlords and tenants to be cautious of online apartment ads.
The fraud unit has been notified of several victims who have been scammed after responding to online ads for rentals. People looking for new place to rent first see places online. They contact the landlords for the properties they are interested in renting. After communicating with the landlord, they are told to transfer money. Except the person they sent the money too isn’t really the landlord.
This scam is also occurring in Alberta and other cities in Ontario.
Here’s a story on about the scam in Edmonton:
In one case in Brantford the fake landlord called himself “Ron.” To sound convincing “Ron” provided not one but two phone numbers to potential tenants (his potential victims). One number was for Houston, Texas. The second number was from an area code in North Carolina.
The interested tenants sent their rent deposits via Western Union to Ron’s “account” in Nevada. In return, “Ron” said the keys to their new rental home would be sent by courier to them to the airport in Brantford.
Unfortunately, “Ron” wasn’t the landlord and the potential tenants were defrauded.
Brantford police encourage tenants to make sure offers for rental properties are real and to make sure the rental property advertised actually exists. You should also visit the property and try to meet the landlord at the rental. Landlords and tenants can also use reputable companies to find great tenants and great properties.