Rent scams in Sydney: Text messages reveal new ways desperate renters are being targeted
A Sydney insider warns a rise in rental fraud is stealing money from many desperate people.
Cihan Kenar, from Rosebery in Sydney’s east, says he’s been inquiring about a property in his area that’s going for $400 a week.
But it seemed too good to be true.
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“That seemed very strange, it was a three bedroom detached house,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.
“That’s well below market value.”
When Kenar inquired about the property, the exchange was – at first – like any other.
“I asked a few questions about the house and said I can come and see it,” he said.
“The address given was only seven minutes away.”
But the “landlord” changed his mind, saying they had been inundated with news about the property and were very busy.
“They asked if I could post a deposit to secure the property,” Kenar said.
The scammer informed Kenar that the deposit would be refunded but he was not convinced.
“They basically asked me to act quickly so as not to lose so much,” Kenar said.
“That really made me realize it was a scam.”
Kenar decided to confront the man before he was blocked.
“Are you bloody serious?” Kenar replied in the text exchange.
“You lure me with cheap rent and require a deposit?”
However, Kenar wasn’t the only one who had a bizarre interaction with the scammer.
On a community Facebook group, others told him they had also been in contact with the person about the rental property.
“They asked me to do the same, so I drove to the house and this house has never been for rent,” said a local. “The lady who owns the property said she would never rent or sell her house.”
“I spoke to her too, what a crackpot!” said another person.
Kenar added that he was disgusted with the scammer’s tactics.
“He made me rush to secure the spot and claims others are interested,” he said.
Kenar warned others not to transfer money from an online advertisement to anyone.
“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” he said.
“Ask about the apartment. Ask questions.”
Rental fraud on the rise
However, more and more people fall victim to this type of scam.
As the rental market becomes increasingly competitive, scammers are using tenant desperation as a bargaining chip.
Last year, Australians lost around $544,846 to rental fraud.
That’s an increase from 2021, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
What to do:
- Do not send any money or personal information to a prospective landlord before you have viewed the property you wish to rent.
- Search the Internet for the exact wording of the rental advertisement. Scammers often reuse descriptions.
- Check other websites to see if the property is advertised in multiple places but with different contact details.
- If you’re dealing with an agent, make sure they’re licensed. Conduct an independent search for a phone number and speak to the property manager over the phone or make an in-person appointment.
- If you have given your bank details or paid money to someone you suspect is a scammer, contact your bank immediately.
- Report scams to the ACCC via the Scamwatch scam reporting page.
https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/real-estate/urgent-warning-to-renters-after-dodgy-text-exchange-with-landlord-c-9904180 Rent scams in Sydney: Text messages reveal new ways desperate renters are being targeted