Police have warned landlords to watch for a scam involving student rentals. Niagara Regional Police Service in Ontario says that every year it receives calls from landlords who have been defrauded, and asks that landlords take steps to protect themselves. Similar reports have been made throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Fraudsters respond to ads by email or phone claiming to be an out-of-town student or parent of a student and offer to rent the apartment. The suspects then forward a check for payment of rent for the full year.
A short time later, the suspects will claim to have decided to attend another college or university and ask for their money back — minus a small amount for the landlord’s trouble.
The suspects will ask that the funds be returned by money transfer to an out-of-town or overseas location.
Alternatively, the suspects will send a check in an amount greater than the rent, claiming the extra funds are for moving or transportation expenses for their ‘child’ and ask that the funds be forwarded to a third party to assist with the move or transportation, again by money transfer.
Inevitably, the checks provided by the suspects will be returned as counterfeit and the victims will be held responsible for any funds sent to the suspects.
A similar scam has been reported by landlords in the Chicago area, and in North Vancouver. See our post, Landlords Fall Victim to Rental Scam, for more details.
According to the NRPS, this scam is expected to continue into the school year as suspects target landlords who are having trouble renting their apartments.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.