Alberta Landlords Association

Edmonton Tenants and Landlords Under Attack From Online Scammers

January 12th, 2013

ala craigslist

Another Day, Another Rental Scam – This Time Targeting Edmonton Tenants and Landlords

According to a report from CBC News, both the Canadian Anti Fraud Center and the Edmonton Police force are warning tenants to be cautious of a new Craigslist rental scam.

The scam has now reached other sites where Edmonton landlords advertise for tenants. It’s another example of why both tenants and landlords must be careful and inexperienced landlords should seek professional assistance if they don’t feel confident in running their rental business by themselves.

Similar to the recent scam that targeted Canmore landlords and tenants, crooks put up super attractive advertisements for rental properties. The crooks target interested tenants who are looking to rent a house, apartment or condo.

When an interested potential renter contacts the fake landlord they are told the actual rental property owner has left the city because of a work transfer. The interested renter can pay the rent using Western Union they will get a set of keys to the property sent to them.

While the rental properties are real, the crooks are not the actual owners.

In fact, they have no connection with the real owners at all. The crooks simply pretend to be the owners and use pictures and information about the property they find online.

According to the Edmonton Police Service’s Detective Bill Allen, complaints about this scam are coming in weekly.

One victim of this scam is Captain Rebecca Evans.

Evans is a veteran who served for us in Afghanistan.

She was looking for a great condo on Craigslist and thought she found it. The online ad described the condo as not only new but filled with great appliances and other amenities. Not only that, but it was also only a short drive from where she is stationed in Edmonton.

Captain Evans contacted the ‘landlord’ about her interest in the rental. She received a reply from ‘landlord Leo Jeffrey.’
‘Landlord Leo Jeffrey’ replied as any experienced landlord would reply. He said he wanted a good tenant and asked for more information. He made it clear he was looking for someone who would treat the condo like their own, with care.

This sounded good to a responsible renter like Evans. She sent personal information to ensure the ‘landlord’ knew she was the type of tenant he wanted.

Evans later received an email that she had been ‘accepted’ to rent the place. She was told she needed to wire $800 to him as the damage deposit. Once sent, she would receive the keys.

The reason the money had to wired was, Leo explained, because he had to go work in his U.S. office and he had only recently made the decision to rent out his Edmonton property.

Captain Evans thought the story sounded reasonable and wanted the excellent apartment. She wired the $800 for the damage deposit and then, after receiving a tracking number for the keys being sent, wired another 1k for the first month rent. Eventually, she sent $2,800 to rent the condo.

It was all a scam.

Not only was the website she saw fake, but the shipping company was also a fraud!

According to Evans, the fake landlord was talented at his criminal endeavor. He also sounded very legitimate and authentic.

In reality, it was a scam and he was simply a crook.

Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says these types of crooks are well practiced in conducting their scams and they might even be a one part of organized international crime.“

And they are targeting Edmonton as well as other large rental markets.

Edmonton Tenants Be Careful To Make Sure You Are Renting From the Real Rental Property Owner! Edmonton Landlords Check Online Rental Ad Sites to Make Sure No One Is Trying To Rent Out Your Property!

 

To Discuss This With Other Alberta landlords and Canadian Landlords In Other Provinces Go To The Alberta Landlords Forum.

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