In a typical rental scam, you will be enticed with an attractive photo of a property in a sought after neighbourhood with a great price.

These ads will typically be posted on social media sites like Kijiji or Craigslist.

After a few emails, they will start asking for a deposit and may even try to rush you into making a decision by saying that others are also interested in the property.

“So far this year, we have received seven reports of rental scams across Chatham-Kent” says Const. Renee Cowell.

“Four of those investigations revealed that the victims had either sent their deposit via e-transfers or paid cash to secure the rental property. Luckily, the other three learned it was a scam before sending money.”

The Chatham-Kent Police would like to remind everyone that if a rental listing looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Janice Wieringa, Executive Officer of the Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS® adds, “We make every effort to protect clients’ information. All photos sent to REALTOR.ca are water marked with our name. However in the event that someone does scrape a photo from another source we recommend the potential renter contact the landlord directly and always see the property in person.

“We also recommend you conduct an online search to see if the property was previously for sale or rent.”

“Scammers usually use previous ads, so this research helps to ensure it is not a duplicate post,” says Steve Carroll President of the Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS®.

“If you find a previous post contact the agent or landlord, to verify legitimacy.”

The Canadian Real Estate Association has installed sophisticated software to prevent listings from being scraped from REATOR.ca, but with so many websites that are not authorized it is impossible to stop this from happening.

The organization says they are happy to work hand in hand with the Chatham-Kent Police to make the public more aware in order for this not to happen again.

For more information about rental scams and how to protect yourself, please see https://www.canada.ca/en/competition-bureau/news/2018/08/rental-scam-no-room-for-error.html