Shelly Smee, REALTOR with Macdonald Realty in Vancouver alerted me today to potential apartment rental scams that are happening in the Lower Mainland. Shelly says, fraudsters are using MLS listing photos in their scams and posting the unit as their own for rent online on classified sites like Craigslist.
Why are apartment rental scams on the rise?
Vancouver has one of the tightest rental markets and one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada. With such a low vacancy rate as decent rental properties become more desired it’s becoming more and more common for these fraudsters to operate.
What are the apartment rental scam warning signs?
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has setup a webpage to help combat Apartment Rental Scams and lists the following as warning signs that the apartment you are wanting to rent might be listed by a fraudulent landlord:
- Being offered a great deal on an apartment in a prime location through online classified ads.
- Seller advised that they are currently out of the country and need funds to be sent before the consumer can see the apartment.
- Consumer advised to send funds to foreign country.
- Use of Money Service Business (e.g. Western Union or MoneyGram) to send funds.
How can I report a rental scam?
If you or someone you know think they have been a victim of fraud you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.