Waterloo Regional Police Receive Reports of Rental Scams

Rental Fraud

Waterloo Region, Ontario  The Waterloo Regional Police Service is warning members of the public to be wary of rental scams.

Between January 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, WRPS received 41 reports of frauds related to rental scams. 

Of those reports, 32 victims experienced a financial loss of approximately $60,000.

While rental scams can happen to anyone, typically, rental frauds increase while younger individuals and students are looking for accommodation or subletting their current accommodations.  

The most common rental scam is when a fraudster poses as a landlord to rent a property. 

In these instances, scammers fraudulently advertise rentals in a preferred location. They may request the renters answer a questionnaire that is used to obtain personal and financial information. Once the offer is accepted, the renter then sends money to the scammer with first and/or last month’s rent. The victim waits to receive the keys and learns that the address does not exist or that they have been misled.

During one incident, a victim responded to an online ad for a property rental in Kitchener. The ad indicated the house rental would be $1,850 per month. The victim contacted the fraudster who provided information indicating that he lived in another province and was renting the property for a deceased family member. The fraudster requested the victim to forward $1,850. The fraudster advised that once the payment was received, he would mail the keys for the property. The victim became suspicious after not receiving the keys and decided to attend the rental property, only to find out there was no property for rent. 

Before forwarding any money, please consider:

  • Scheduling a viewing and confirm that the property exists. 
  • Be suspicious if asked to transfer money electronically or wire money out of the country. 
  • Know what reasonable rental rates are. 
  • Review your contract thoroughly, and have a friend or family member view it as well.
  • Be suspicious if there appears to be urgency or pressure to get the deal done quickly. 
  • Be suspicious if they are avoiding your questions. 
  • If the deal appears too good to be true, it likely is.

Another important thing to consider while looking to rent a property is to limit the personal and banking information that you share with the owner or renter. If the post or rental property is a scam, the fraudster may use your information for identity fraud purposes.

If you have been a victim of a rental scam, contact the ad publisher, file a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and contact your local police service to make a report. 

Media Inquiries:

André Johnson
Constable
Public Information Officer, Executive Branch
Waterloo Regional Police Service
519-570-9777 (WRPS) ext. 8106
andre.johnson@wrps.on.ca  


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