The Integrated Financial Crime Unit is warning citizens about an apartment rental scam involving fraudulent ads being posted on classified ad websites.
In this latest case, scammers find legitimate online ads and then repost the information, including photos and apartment descriptions, in new ads that include the scammers’ contact information. Police believe that the scammers are attempting to find interested renters who will wire them deposits before viewing the apartments.
Unfortunately at this time of year with the influx of students looking for apartments, scam artists try to take advantage of prospective tenants, especially those who are in a time crunch. It’s crucial that prospective tenants be extremely cautious when dealing with someone they only have contact with online. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- If you do look for an apartment online, be sure to contact the landlord directly by phone and arrange to see the apartment in person.
- Exercise extreme caution before wiring deposits or rent payments. Instant money transfers are very popular for online scams because the funds are available instantly, difficult to trace and accessible worldwide.
- Use other means when looking for an apartment, such as signs posted for rent on the building or university social media platforms.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the Financial Crime Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division at 902-490-1985.