Landlords and Property Managers have started to see a significant increase in what can only be described as one of the most despicable forms of fraud the rental housing industry has ever witnessed. While it is innocent prospective renters who are clearly the real victims of this fraud, these fraudulent “landlords” are causing unfair reputational harm to the many responsible and professional landlords and property managers who provide BC families with safe and secure rental homes. Its time Government acted.
Over the past number of years, our members have noticed a significant increase in the number of fraudulent advertisements on Craigslist and other web-based advertising services using rental housing for their scams.
While we’re all aware of CRA scams targeting people and draining their bank accounts, or car thieves obviously depriving a person of a vehicle for a short while, this type of crime is a new low. We are hearing of situations where prospective renters are being duped out of as much as three months rent, plus a damage deposit. But the worst part of this is that the victim isn’t aware of it until they arrive at the home with a moving truck and all their belongings. Its at that point that they are made homeless and often penniless since they’ve handed over significant amounts of money to the scammer.
We were recently made aware of a scammer that had copied one of our member’s rental advertisements and was posing as the member online. This scammer was attempting to secure rental damage deposits and first month’s rent from prospective renters prior to showing the property to them.
What is perhaps even more disturbing is that when our member proceeded to report this encounter, along with the contact details of the scammer to one of the regional police forces in Metro, they were told that a file and action is only taken after a person has lost money.
Given the gravity of this type of crime, we think its time that the Government fund the necessary resources to target and address these types of criminals. They’ve run successful bait car programs, why can we not do something similar for this heinous crime. While it is innocent prospective renters who are clearly the real victims of this fraud, these fraudulent “landlords” are causing unfair reputational harm to the many responsible and professional landlords and property managers who provide BC families with safe and secure rental homes. Its time Government acted.
Source: Landlord BC