Sunday, March 29, 2020

Police & real state officials issue warning about rental scams

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

Police officials say 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, Craigslist or Prop2Go.

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.

“We make every effort to protect clients’ information,” stated Janice Wieringa, Executive Officer of the Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS®, in a press release.

“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.”

Wieringa added: “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, said Michael Gibbons, President of the Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS®.

“If you find a previous post contact the agent or landlord, to verify legitimacy,” Gibbons said in a media release.

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.

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

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