Contact Consumer Protection
Tel: 1300 30 40 54
See all Consumer Protection office locations
Tenants who are desperate to secure a rental property in the current tight market are being targeted by scammers with many thousands of dollars being lost and Consumer Protection urging caution before handing over money.
So far this year 18 reports of rental scams have been received with five people losing a total of $7,200. In two recent cases:
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping has urged tenants looking for rentals not to send money for properties they haven’t inspected.
“Responding to online classified ads or social media posts is very risky, so prospective tenants need to at least view the property and meet the landlord or their agent before handing over any money,” Ms Chopping said.
“Often the scammers will say that they are overseas or interstate so they can’t physically meet or show them the property, but will leave the keys hidden outside for them to gain access after a bond and rent in advance are paid.
“The scammers could also say that tenants are currently living in the property so advised to just do a drive-by inspection. They may ask for identification documents to be sent which may expose the victims to identity theft.
“These heartless scammers are exploiting the desperation of tenants who may face being homeless unless they can secure a rental and the victims can least afford to lose money to fraudsters.
“To be safe, we would recommend people considering renting properties unseen to go through a licensed real estate or property management agency rather than responding to online ads. That way they can be assured the property being offered is a genuine rental.”
TIPS TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED:
General information and advice on scams is available on the WA ScamNet website where scam reports can be lodged. Enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com