Beware of rental scams say police

© Can Stock Photo / karenr

Two agencies in Chatham-Kent are reminding the public to protect themselves against rental scams.

Chatham-Kent police said if a rental listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. According to police, scammers will try to entice would-be renters with an attractive photo of a property in a sought-after neighbourhood with a great price.

They added these ads will typically be posted on social media sites like Kijiji, Craigslist or Prop2Go and after a few emails, the scammers will start asking for a deposit and may even try to rush people into making a decision by saying that others are also interested in the property.

“We make every effort to protect clients’ information,” said Janice Wieringa, executive officer of the Chatham-Kent Association of Realtors. “All photos sent to REALTOR.ca are watermarked 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.”

The association also recommends 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 realtor President Michael Gibbons. “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.

For more information about rental scams and how to protect yourself, click here.