Beware of online apartment rental scam
An online apartment rental scam has been making the rounds and tenants' rights groups say if it's too good to be true, it usually is.
The scam works like this: the fraud artist lists a great, cheap apartment complete with photos on sites such as Kijiji and Craigslist, asking for a security deposit to be wired through Western Union because he's out of the country for some reason. But the apartment doesn't exist and by the time the potential tenant realizes it, the money is long gone.
Numbers culled together by La Presse show 285 Canadians fell for this scam last year, with most of them out about 900 bucks. But anti-fraud officials say the numbers are likely in the thousands since many don't file a complaint.
"The principle is buyer beware," said director of the Housing Hotline, Arnold Bennett.
"Locally, people should make sure that they check what they're getting before they sign anything for it."
Unfortunately once the money is wired out of the country, the investigation here hits a wall. Bennett said that type of money transaction should be a red flag.
"It's getting right up there with letting the guy from Nigeria have your bank account number so he can send you a big fat deposit that never happens."