Rental scam

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Video transcript: Rental scam (Word, 27KB)

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How the scam works

Scammers advertise rental properties on well-known property websites. When you express interest, they say they are overseas or interstate and that you must conduct the transaction online.

The scammers may try to appear genuine by providing photos, real addresses of properties, land title deeds and even scans of stolen passports. They scam you by asking for a month’s bond and rent to secure the property. If you pay by money transfer, there is very little chance of recovering your money.

Scammers also ask for personal details such as bank and credit card numbers and driver’s licence details, which they use for credit card and identify fraud.

Protect yourself:

  • Always inspect the property before sending any money.
  • If the owner offers ongoing excuses about why you cannot view the property in person - such as them being overseas – be wary.
  • Avoid paying via money transfer, because it is often impossible to recover your money.
  • If you are paying a bond for a Victorian property, pay via a money order or bank cheque made out to the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority (RTBA).
  • Do an internet search with images from the advertising, to check they haven’t been copied from another site.