Real estate agency hacking leads to bogus rental ads (rentscall@gmail.com)

Information status

All announcements issued prior to 1 July 2017 were issued by the former Department of Commerce. Announcements listed here are the latest versions available, but may be subject to review. For more information on this announcement, please contact online@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerTenantProperty industry

A Perth real estate agency’s computer system has been hacked by scammers, resulting in bogus advertisements being posted on numerous rental accommodation websites.

Actions are being taken to have the fake ads removed and to have an email address being used by the scammers (rentscall@gmail.com) closed down.

The scammers gained access to the western suburbs’ agency’s log in details for sites such as:

  • realestate.com.au
  • Domain
  • REIWA
  • The Home Page
  • Million Dollar Listings 
  • On the House
  • Activepipe
  • homely.com.au
  • MovingUp
  • rent.com.au

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the bogus ads feature properties from around Australia with below market rents to attract maximum interest.

“The ads feature very attractive properties at equally attractive rents, so we fear that many prospective tenants have already responded to the ads and have communicated or are currently communicating with the scammers via the rentscall@gmail.com email address,” Mr Hillyard said.

“This may have involved the applicants providing personal and financial details which could result in their bank or credit card accounts being compromised, or the applicants could be the victim of identity theft.

“Consumer Protection, together with the agency targeted, are currently working to identify the ads and have them removed and we are hoping to have the gmail account closed down soon as well.

“In the meantime, we warn people searching these websites to check which email address they are using to communicate with the advertiser. If the ad recommends not using the online contact form on the website, be immediately suspicious.”

Prospective tenants who have responded to the ads and have communicated with the scammers via the gmail address are urged to take the following action:

  • Cease communication with the scammers immediately;
  • If bank or credit card account details have been supplied, contact your bank and/or credit card provider and consider changing passwords to your accounts;
  • If money has been paid, contact the bank, credit card provider or money transfer service used to see if the payment can be stopped or reversed;
  • If you have given personal and financial information, contact ID Care (www.idcare.org) for advice to prevent identity theft.

If prospective tenants who may have responded to the advertisement require further information or advice, they can contact Consumer Protection by email or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

END OF RELEASE

Media Contact (Consumer Protection) 

2017-05-22_bogus_rent_ad.jpg
2017-05-22_bogus_rent_ad.jpg, by ahynd
Bogus rent advertisement

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
22 May 2017

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