The island’s Constabulary are warning would be renters to be savvy when it comes to adverts for property rentals.
A number of fake rental ads have popped up on social media in the last few weeks, often made to look very realistic. One recent scam was based on a genuine rental posting from a short time ago.
The Police said: ‘We are continuing to see thieves/scammers create fake adverts for property rentals. These adverts are placed on local social media and web classified sites using information and pictures from old adverts where the properties are already sold or rented out. After a brief online or over the phone conversation the thieves end up taking a deposit that you will never see again! The monies are often paid into online banks that only exist for a period of time or other accounts used to direct money elsewhere quickly. It is therefore quite difficult to get funds back.
‘Could we ask the public to be careful before they respond. We would advise that site visits with the vendor to check the property beforehand should be done before monies are exchanged. Do checks before you send any money to bank accounts. Are the accounts on island? If not, do some more checks on where the funds are going. Google a bank code checker and find out where the bank is based.’
The constabulary is also advising admins or owners of sites and pages to consider improving the checks they are making on adverts and consider asking for the use of local phone numbers. They are recommend that no one should hand over any money until they have viewed any rental property.
In a comment on Facebook, the police added: ‘The property market is such at the moment that people are desperate to get the right place so we can see why it happens. The scammers pray on this and they are good at what they do. We just want people to be careful.’