Stay Alert to Fraudsters

30th June 2021

Stay Alert to Fraudsters

As we approach the end of June, there is a noticeable increase in the number of reports relating to fake property listings as well as agent imposters.

 

In particular, Bournemouth has seen hopeful renters being left homeless and out of thousands of pounds after fake lettings listings are advertised on online market places.

 

Phil Skorochod, head of Martin&Co Bournemouth, explained "It's very simple. People pretend or purport to be the landlord or the owner of the property, and then they set up an email address similar to the name of the owner and advertise the property on Facebook or Airbnb, or any of these other online media platforms, and collect tenancies."

 

Unfortunately, there have been several people who have fallen victim to this including Mary Whitbread, from Bournemouth. Mary realised that she had been scammed when the time came to move into the property, when she saw the ‘For Sale’ sign outside the home. Subsequently, Mary was left homeless and out of pocket by £3000.

 

Further up North, Cheshire Police have recently appealed for information after a fake estate agent knocked on a man’s door, asking to take photos inside his home.

 

The homeowner in Crewe was left feeling unsettled after a man with dark hair and wearing a shirt and shorts, asked to take pictures inside the address after claiming to be an estate agent.

 

The resident explained that the property was not for sale and asked for identification from the individual, which resulted in the fraudster swiftly leaving the address.

 

Our advice to you is always be cautious and if you’re even the slightest bit unsure, then ask the relevant questions.

 

Here are some ways that could prevent getting scammed:

  • Request the landlords ID
  • Check the land registry to confirm the property's owner. This service allows you to check the property's real owner. If you find that it is not consistent with the person who you're communicating with and they're making it clear they're the landlord, then there may be something amiss.
  • Look for landlords who are part of some third party organisation or association, like the NLA, RLA, The Guide of Residential Landlords. Members who are landlords are required to uphold a code of conduct which more or less means they wil abide by the established rules
  • ALWAYS try and visit the property you’re about to pay for
  • Ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement and any other documents that you’d normally receive when you move in – Inventory reports, EPC certificates etc. A scammer is unlikely to have all of these prepared.
  • Always ask for a receipt before handing over any money
  • Don’t get raced into making a decision