IMPORTANT: Rental Scam Alert

Friday, March 29, 2019

If you suspect you have received a fraudulent email, please report this to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Rental Scam Information 

The Off-Campus Housing Office recommends that, if you receive a request from a prospective tenant for a refund of a deposit overpayment, contact the fraud unit of the Waterloo Regional Police Services. You can also contact and report this to the uWaterloo Police.

Rental fraud cases increase at the end of semesters, when students are subletting, or planning their accommodations for the next year. Police are encouraging students to educate themselves and take precautions to avoid becoming victims.

Rental Scam: There are two types of fraud rental scams:

1. Fraudulent Renters Looking for Property to Rent

Scammers fraudulently advertise rentals in a preferred location. They may request the renters to answer a questionnaire asking for their personal information and banking information (potentially providing the fraudster with the ability to use the information for identify fraud). Once the offer is accepted, the renter then sends money to the scammer with first and/or last month’s rent. The victim arrives at the designated time to receive their keys and finds the address does not exist or that they have been misled.

Signs to Look for:

  • Is the deal too good to be true?
  • Is the ad posted on an internet? Have you done your due diligence to verify the property exists?  Have you completed open source searches to ensure it is not a duplicate post.
  • Is there an urgency or pressure to get the deal done quickly?
  • Are they dodging questions?
  • Are you asked to transfer money through the internet or wire money out of the country?

Prevention Ttips

  • Go to the address. Schedule a viewing and confirm its availability.
  • Review your contract thoroughly. Do not be in a hurry or pressured.
  • Do your homework and know what a reasonable rental amount is. 
  • Complete open source searches to verify that there are no duplicate posts and that the property exists.
  • Go with your gut instincts!   

2. Fraudulent Properties for Rent

Fraudulent renters are scammers who claim to want to rent the apartment but actually do not intend to live there. They send a fraudulent form of overpayment and ask you to send the additional funds back to them.

Prevention Tips

  • Check the facts and verify personal information.
  • If the person lives out of the country and wants to rent do not provide your banking information. Have the money Etransferred to you to an email address specifically designated for such transactions and do not link to your personal email.
  • Never return funds that are “overpayment”.  Suggest applying the amount to their next month’s rent.
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