September 1st, 2012
Are you an Ontario Landlord Renting Out To Students?
Why the Warning?
Lots of Ontario Landlords rent to students. During this time of year students all over Ontario are traveling to their universities and colleges. Now is the peak time for renting to students.
It’s also a busy time from scam artists and fraudsters to try to take advantage of this and prey on landlords who rent to students.
What’s the Scam?
The fraudsters reply to landlord advertisements for housing for students. In their emails or phone calls, they pose as either parents of a student or a student from out of town and say they want to rent the apartment. They are targeting Ontario landlords to rip them off.
What Happens Next?
The scam usually takes one of several paths.
One path is the imposter will send a cheque for rent for the entire school year.
After a week or two, the fake student will inform the landlord they changed their mind and won’t attend that particular university or college. This will inevitably lead to the fake student asking for their money back.
They will request the money be sent back to them by a money transfer to a bank account located overseas, or at least out of town. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they inform the landlords to take a few dollars for their troubles.
The second way this scam happens is the fake student will send the landlord a cheque with more money than what the rental agreement requires. They will claim the extra money is for “moving expenses” for the student (“their child”).
The next stage of the scam is to ask these extra funds be sent to a 3rd party to help the student (“their child”) to help with the move. Again, they will ask the money be transferred to them.
Alternatively, the suspects will send a cheque in an amount greater than the rent, claiming the extra funds are for moving or transportation expenses for their ‘child’ and ask that the funds be forwarded to a third party to assist with the move or transportation, again by money transfer.
Inevitably, the cheque provided by the fake students will be returned as counterfeit. The students landlords will be held for any money sent to them..
Is this a New Scam?
Every year, the Niagara Regional Police Service receives calls from landlords who have been defrauded or approached with this type of scam. In fact, this scam happens all over Ontario. The Niagara Regional Police Service wants to remind Ontario landlords that this scam continues and will continue into the school year as suspects will continue to seek out landlords who are having trouble renting their apartments.
Ontario landlords who rent to students: be aware of this scam and don’t become a victim! Read more at the Ontario Landlord Forum.