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Beware: Criminal Rental Scam

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Unfortunately, we have seen another example this month of a potential tenant duped into parting with a considerable sum by a criminal impersonating a bone fide landlord. This particular example used NLA sourced paperwork and logo's to establish credibility and used the Covid-19 lockdown as an excuse to do everything via social media. Before you ask how people can be so gullible, have a look at some of the detail and see if you would have fallen for it.  

What Happened 

Ms. A, looking for a new home, answered an advert on social media for a property in Merton Rd, Southsea. A video of the property was available and the criminal who pretended to be a landlord demanded several references and other items of paperwork which led Ms. A to believe she was dealing with a genuine landlord. After all, if all someone wanted was you to send them money, why would they make you jump through hoops to do so? Well, the answer is simple – so that you believe they are genuine and when they do ask for money, you send it without thinking.

In this example, Ms. A was asked for and paid a deposit and 2 months rent in advance. A sum of almost £2,000.

As you will know, the NLA is no more and Adrian Jeakings was its chairman but has now retired. But if you were someone who had no experience of the property profession, would you have realised this? We spoke to the NRLA and they stated they have seen a number of examples of this scam, and we also raised it with PCC as the Civic Offices were given as the address of the NLA.

All agencies agree with us – Ms A needs to report to the police and talk to her bank urgently and everyone needs to be extra careful before paying funds to anyone they have not met in person, online fraud is getting ever more sophisticated, so do take care.

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