The Waterloo Regional Police are warning the public to be wary of rental scams.
Between January 1 and July 31, police received 41 reports of frauds related to rental scams. Of those reports, 32 victims experienced a financial loss of approximately $60,000.
While rental scams can happen to anyone, typically, rental frauds increase while younger individuals and students are looking for accommodation or subletting their current accommodations.
The most common rental scam is when a fraudster poses as a landlord to rent a property.
In these instances, scammers fraudulently advertise rentals in a preferred location. They may request the renters answer a questionnaire that is used to obtain personal and financial information. Once the offer is accepted, the renter then sends money to the scammer with first and/or last month’s rent. The victim waits to receive the keys and learns that the address does not exist or that they have been misled.
During one incident, a victim responded to an online ad for a property rental in Kitchener. The ad indicated the house rental would be $1,850 per month. The victim contacted the fraudster who provided information indicating that he lived in another province and was renting the property for a deceased family member. The fraudster requested the victim to forward $1,850. The fraudster advised that once the payment was received, he would mail the keys for the property. The victim became suspicious after not receiving the keys and decided to attend the rental property, only to find out there was no property for rent.
Before forwarding any money, police advise the following tips:
- Schedule a viewing and confirm that the property exists.
- Be suspicious if asked to transfer money electronically or wire money out of the country.
- Know what reasonable rental rates are.
- Review your contract thoroughly, and have a friend or family member view it as well.
- Be suspicious if there appears to be urgency or pressure to get the deal done quickly.
- Be suspicious if they are avoiding your questions.
- If the deal appears too good to be true, it likely is.
Another important thing to consider while looking to rent a property is to limit the personal and banking information that you share with the owner or renter. If the post or rental property is a scam, the fraudster may use your information for identity fraud purposes.
If you have been a victim of a rental scam, contact the ad publisher, file a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and contact your local police service to make a report.
11:02 AM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a break-and-enter at a fenced compound on Fountain Street North in Breslau, where the business reported that equipment had been stolen. There are no suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
11:39 AM | A two-vehicle collision occurred on Floradale Road in Woolwich Township, where a vehicle struck an unoccupied vehicle that was parked on the side of the road. The driver, a 50-year-old man, suffered minor injuries, and was charged with ‘fail to turn out to the left to avoid a collision’ and ‘driver fail to properly wear a seatbelt.’
2:35 PM | A stolen bicycle was returned to its owner, a Wittick Road, Woolwich resident.
6:17 PM | Emergency services responded to a report of a single motor vehicle collision in the area of Erbs Road in Wilmot Township. A vehicle was travelling at a high rate of the speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle, left the roadway, struck a pole and rolled several times before coming to rest in a field. The driver suffered minor injuries. As a result of the investigation, a 20-year-old Waterloo man was charged with ‘careless driving.’
12:28 AM | Police were called to investigate a theft from a vehicle parked on Fountain Street in Breslau.
11:31 AM | Waterloo Regional Police responded to Weimar Line in Wellesley Township for a report of property damage. Through the investigation, police learned that a cyclist had rear-ended an unoccupied motor vehicle. As a result of the impact, the cyclist was thrown from their bike and subsequently transported to hospital with what were believed to be minor injuries. There was extensive damage to the bike and damage to the vehicle. No further police action was required.
8:15 AM | Police received a report of a theft from a vehicle at a Joseph Street, Breslau address. The vehicle is believed to have been entered sometime overnight. There was no damage, so police believe the vehicle was left unlocked. No property was reported to have been taken.
1:28 PM | Waterloo Regional Police responded to a collision on New Jerusalem Road in Woolwich Township. A front-end loader left a private drive and struck the passenger side of a vehicle on the roadway, causing significant damage. There were no reported injuries. An 18-year-old man was charged with ‘fail to yield from a driveway.’
7:30 PM | Emergency services responded to the intersection of Notre Dame Drive and Berletts Road in Wilmot Township for a collision involving a car and a motorcycle. The motorcyclist, a 45-year-old Goderich man, passed away at the scene. The driver and a passenger in the car were treated for minor injuries. Roads within the area were closed for approximately six hours while members of Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Traffic Unit conducted an investigation, which remains ongoing. Investigators believe that speed was a factor in the collision. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777, ext. 8857 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
11:53 PM | Emergency crews responded to a single-vehicle collision on Lobsinger Line in Woolwich Township, where the driver lost control of their vehicle and left the roadway. A 23-year-old woman was charged with ‘careless driving.’