Halifax Regional Police is warning the public about an apartment rental scam.
Over the last week, the HRP/RCMP Integrated Financial Crime Unit has received numerous complaints from citizens who were defrauded after replying to an online classified ad. The citizens responded to a post advertising an apartment for rent or sublet. The person advertising the apartment replied that they were out of the country and asked the victims to wire money overseas to secure the apartment. They advised that when they received the money, the keys to the apartment would be delivered by courier. Once the money was transferred, the “landlord” stopped all communication and the victims discovered that the apartment didn’t exist.
This type of fraud becomes more prevalent when students are seeking to rent apartments or at the end of term when they are attempting to sublet their apartments. To avoid becoming a victim:
- Be cautious when dealing with someone you only have contact with via the Internet.
- Exercise extreme caution before wiring deposits or rent payments to foreign countries. Sending money overseas in any form could result in losing all of it. Instant money transfers are very popular for online scams because the funds are available instantly, difficult to trace and accessible worldwide.
- When doing business with an overseas landlord, verify their identity and confirm that they actually own the apartment advertised before entering into a rental agreement.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the HRP/RCMP Integrated Financial Crime Unit at 490-1985. You can also file a complaint online at https://www.halifax.ca/police/NonDispatch/index.html